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Learn about Ramadan

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What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is one of the holiest months of the year for Muslims. It is a time when Muslims remember the time that the Qur’an was revealed to their prophet Mohammed (pbuh).

When is Ramadan?

Ramadan is observed during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.  As the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, rather than a solar calendar like the Gregorian calendar, it is shorter than the Gregorian calendar.  This means that Ramadan is about 10 days earlier each year.  For example, last year Ramadan began on 12/4/21 and ended on 12/5/21 while this year, in the UK, Ramadan started on 02/4/22 and is expected to end around 02/05/22.

What do Muslims do during Ramadan?

During Ramadan many Muslims fast from sun up to sun down.  Before dawn it is common for people to have a meal called suhoor and after sunset they eat a meal called iftar.

It is also common to go to the Mosque, also commonly referred to as the Masjid, for communal prayers.  Some people go to the Mosque for evening prayers and stay for the communal Iftar meal.  The Iftar meal is also often used as a time to socialise with family and friends so it can be a big gathering for some people.

During the day, Muslims go about their usual daily routine of work, school, etc. while fasting so they may be more tired than usual.

Who fasts during Ramadan?

Most adult Muslims will fast during Ramadan.  Children who have not reached puberty are not required to fast.  Pregnant people, those on their period, who are unwell, elderly, or who are travelling, are also not required to fast.

What is Eid al-Fitr?

The end of Ramadan is marked by a big celebration called Eid al-Fitr (sometimes spelled Eid ul-Fitr).  The time of Eid al-Fitr is marked by the sighting of the crescent moon which is expected to happen between 1-2 May 2022.

Eid al-Fitr is Arabic (as are most Islamic terms) and can be translated as the Festival of Breaking Fast. During Eid al-Fitr Muslims dress in their finest clothes, give gifts to their children, give money to charity.  In addition, Mosques hold special services and a special meal is eaten during the day, the first daytime meal that many Muslims will have eaten for a month.

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