Monday, 8 July 2013

Ramadan

Image source: Flickr

This week will see the first day of Ramadan, arguably the best-known Islamic festival around the world.

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. It takes place at different times during the Gregorian calendar each year and the specific dates are determined by the appearance of the new moon. Perhaps the most well-known tradition during the month is the fast – one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

Fasting during Ramadan means that for the duration of the month, many Muslims choose not to eat or drink anything during the day. They also abstain from any other temptation that may detract from worship. Before sunrise and after sunset, small meals are allowed (but nothing too excessive). These meals are called suhoor and iftar.

In addition to fasting, some Muslims choose to make additional charitable donations on top of those they make throughout the rest of the year. Some also choose to undertake additional prayer and to read the whole Qu’ran. They can opt to recite the Qu’ran during prayer; this is called Tarawih.

After 29 or 30 days, Ramadan comes to an end with a special festival called Eid ul-Fitr. On this day, Muslims break their fast and partake in a special Eid prayer. Sometimes, gifts are given to children and immediate relatives and further charitable donations are made.

Do you celebrate Ramadan? Are there any differences in how you celebrate between your host and home countries? Let us know in the comments.

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