MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MAY 16: Muslims break their fast on the first day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan at Victory Park near Memorial Mosque in Moscow, Russia on May 16, 2018. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Muslim women attend prayers on the first day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan at al-Akbar Mosque, Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia. SIGIT PAMUNGKAS/REUTERS

For millions of Muslims around the world, the holy month of Ramadan began on Thursday.

The first day of Ramadan – the holiest month for Muslims – is observed according to the local visibility of the new crescent moon. In some countries, Wednesday was the first day of the holy month.

Muslims around the world will be fasting every day for a month, refraining from eating, drinking and smoking from sunrise to sunset.

It is a month of self-discipline and empathy for those living in poverty.

As one of the five pillars of Islam, fasting during Ramadan is accompanied by increased spiritual reflection, worship and acts of charity.