Ramadan is celebrated by Muslims every year and is an important event in their religious lives. Ohmymag will tell you all you need to know about this solemn event's tradition and history.
Everything You Need To Know About Ramadan
1. When it is: Ramadan lasts 29 days and happens on the 9th month of the Muslim calendar (Lunar calendar). On their yearly calendar the date of the first day of Ramadan moves back by 11 days each year as the lunar calendar gets shorter. The month of Ramadan also moves back year after year and so it can happen in all seasons. In 2017, Ramadan was celebrated from the 27th of May to the 24th of June.
2. Origin: It is an important spiritual period for Muslims, Ramadan represents one of the 5 pillars of Islam. It marks the moment when the Qur'an was revealed by the prophet Mohammed, it signifies that he received the first verses from God (Allah in Arabic).
Ramadan is also the name given to the 9th month in the Islamic lunar calendar which translates as "intense heat". Long before the arrival of Islam in the Arabic world, there was a celebration for the heat of summer. This is why in the pre-Islamic Lunisolar calendar Ramadan had its origins in summer. Equally, today it is used to appoint holy month and fasting in this period. Ramadan is a very solemn period of purification, charity giving and reverence which also exists in other religions such as Lent for Christians and Yom Kippur for Jews.
3. Ramadan traditions: The holy month of Ramadan is a time for fasting and prayers, Muslims also give money to charity during this time. They aim to restore family relationships and wash away their sins. Every morning before dawn Muslims wake up before sunrise, they have a hearty breakfast, following the ablutions (the purification ritual), and prayer. Fasting for Ramadan is observed until sunset. This means the consummation of alcohol, food, sex or water is also forbidden.
Spiritually, all deviant attitudes, words and thoughts are singled out in Ramadan. The fasting in Ramadan is broken at sunset. At this time family and friends come together to eat chorba, a hearty soup made of meat and vegetables. Some people break their fasting with figs and milk in front of an image of Mohammed. At roughly the end of 20 days of fasting, Muslims celebrate a holy night called the Laylat Al Qadr which marks the descent of the archangel Gabriel who revealed the first teachings of Allah to the prophet Mohammed.
The festival Eid al fitr comes after this, it symbolises the end of fasting and it lasts about 3 days. Throughout this event Muslims go to mosques, organise traditional feasts in which presents are offered to the children.