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The holiday celebrated by 1.8 billion people

Updated: May 18, 2021


The holy month of Ramadan started on April 12th, 2021, and will end on Wednesday, May 12th. For many who are not from Islamic backgrounds, Ramadan is known as a holiday or period where Muslims fast from sunrise to sundown for a month straight. But there is so much more to Ramadan than just the fast. Ramadan marks the ninth month of the Lunar calendar and is said to be the thirty days the word of God was brought down from heaven to earth in the form of the Quran (the religious book for Muslims). The ninth month to many Muslims also marks that the gates of heaven are opened widest, meaning just as the words of God had come down, the prayer of humankind to God is most effective at this time.

As a pillar of Islam, practicing Muslims need to partake in the spiritual and blessings of the month of Ramadan. For every day of the month, Muslims worldwide refrain from any drinks and or foods from sunrise to sunset. This means that Muslims can not drink water or eat anything (including gum) while the sun is up. The hours they have to fast change depending on what season of the year Ramadan falls. During summers, it can go as long as seventeen hours, while it can be as short as eleven in winter.

Throughout this fasting period, Muslims usually partake in reading the Quran, praying, and devoting and remembering God. In addition, one of the major themes of Ramadan for those who take part in the Islamic tradition is to recognize their humanity. While they refrain from food, many have intensive self-reflection that allows them to subdue more minor misdeeds such as lying, stealing, and backbiting. After the prayer call at sunset, those who have fasted break their fast by eating and drinking. This eating period is allowed until sunrise; the majority of Muslims wake up at three or four o’clock and eat in preparation for the next day of fasting.

While Ramadan has many spiritual aspects to it that may seem tedious to those who have never participated in it, for the majority of Muslims, it has always been a time of happiness. Throughout the entire month, mosques are filled past capacity, and family and friends join each other to dine and break their fast. Many families stay up until sunrise together at their homes and or mosque, talking, praying, and enjoying each other’s company. Depending on the cultural background, different traditional parties, events, and daily activities are held throughout the month. For example, in many Arabic countries such as Egypt and Saudia Arabia, they decorate the streets with Islamic decorations and lanterns.


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