Wednesday marked the start of one of the most important periods of the year for Muslims, with it being the first day of Ramadan for those around the world who observe.
For those who don’t know exactly what Ramadan is and how it’s observed, here are five things to know.
1. What is Ramadan?
Ramadan falls on the ninth lunar month in the Islamic calendar and is believed to be the month in which the Holy Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad. It starts when the first moon is observed over Mecca.
2. How long is Ramadan?
Ramadan lasts roughly a month, and this year (2023) it is supposed to end on April 21.
3. Why is Ramadan held 11 days earlier on the solar calendar every year?
The Islamic calendar is a lunar one instead of a solar one, so months begin when a new moon is sighted. As a result, the Islamic year is 10 to 11 days shorter within the realm of the solar calendar, so Ramadan tends to be celebrated at different periods of time over a span of years.
For example, Ramadan five years ago in 2018 took place from May 16 to June 15. In 2028, Ramadan will take place from Jan. 28 to Feb. 27.
4. How is Ramadan is celebrated?
The two main ways Muslims observe Ramadan are through lots of prayer and fasting. Those who celebrate abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset, and also attempt to refrain from sinful acts. The month-long celebration is also filled with generosity and giving.
5. What is the conclusion of Ramadan?
Ramadan will end with Eid ul-Fitr, also known as the “Festival of Breaking the Fast.” It’s a day of joy, prayers, family activities, exchanging gifts and lots of eating to celebrate the month of sacrifice.