Image by Global Sadaqah
Ramadan starts on Sunday, May 5th and ends on Tuesday, June 4th. It occurs during the 9th month of the lunar calendar. The lunar year is 354 days long compared with the solar year of 365. This is why Ramadan’s start time changes each year. The celebration begins with the new moon of the month. Historically, the celebration began with the first sighting of the crescent moon as it waxes towards full. In the modern age, it is easy to determine the exact time to begin the fast. However, some begin when the very thin sliver of the crescent moon is visible.
It is believed that The Qur’an was revealed to Muhammad during the month of Ramadan and specifically during the odd days during the last 10 days of the month. The 27th is the most recognized day of this month celebrating the night of Power. The first revelation of the Qur’an was delivered on the night of Power. This is why the month is special and considered the most sacred of the year.
Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam and is the focus of the 9th month of the Islamic lunar year. It is an opportunity to share belief with loved ones and a time of celebration. It is also a time of charity and involves giving to the less fortunate. During Ramadan, a modest meal called “suhur” is consumed before the sun rises. From the moment the sun rises, the fast continues until sunset. The daily fast is broken with a small meal called “iftar.” Iftar means breaking the fast. After sunset prayers, a large family meal is consumed. Many people are invited to share this meal or go to people homes. It is a social occasion to be shared.
In some cases, people are absolved of the fast. If someone is ill, old, traveling, pregnant or nursing, they do not have to engage in the Ramadan fast. It is possible to reconcile the inability to fast by making it up later or feeding someone less fortunate for each day missed. Depending on where one may live, fasting may be extreme. Under these geographic conditions, practitioners of Ramadan should follow the guidelines of the city closest to them or standards set forth by Saudi Arabia.
The end of Ramadan is celebrated with the major holiday called Eid al-Fitr. This term translates into “Festival of the Breaking of the Fast.” This event will be held on Tuesday, June 4th, 2019. On this day, children usually receive money, gifts or new clothes from family and friends. It is a big celebration initiated with a special prayer and sermon held in the morning. It is a grand social gathering where people can reconnect with old friends at a park or designated location to celebrate.