Yesterday was the beginning of a Muslim holiday, Eid al-Adha,, which marks the end of Ramadan. On this special occasion, practically all Thai Muslims overseas are returning home to be with their families and loved ones.
The atmosphere at the bustling Thai-Malaysian border at Betong District, Yala Province, was upbeat as thousands of Thai-Muslims working in Malaysia were heading home to participate in this joyous event, held at the end of Ramadan; the ninth month of the Muslim year, during which time Muslims have no food or drink during the day. Given the number of people, many of them were left stranded at the border as there were not enough buses or cabs to cater to their transportation need.
Police were on alert for possible smugglers and terrorists who might take this opportunity to enter the Thai territory in the guise of tourists.
In Satul province, many Muslims availed themselves of a ferry service to cross the border to be with their families. Thai Muslims living in the 5 southernmost provinces got an extra day off on this occasion. A seven-day long celebration is being held in Malaysia.