Ramadan is the Muslim holy month of fasting and devotion. It is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. The dates vary every year with the Muslim lunar calendar.
Ramadan 2019 is between the first sightings of the crescent moon on Sunday, May 5 and Tuesday, June 4, 2019.
In Islamic belief, Ramadan commemorates the first revelation of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, to the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
During Ramadan, the pious fast during daylight. We are not supposed to consume anything at all.
We rise before dawn to eat and drink a meal we call sahoor. It’s big enough to make it through the day.
By tradition, we break the fast by eating an odd number of fresh dates with a few sips of water. Later we eat a big dinner, called iftar, in gatherings with family and friends.
Being based on the cycles of the moon, the dates of Ramadan change every year. When Ramadan comes during shorter winter days, the fast is briefer. When Ramadan comes in the long, hot summer days, the fast is longer too.
Fasting is one of the five pillars, or core practices, of Islam. Many religious practices around the globe give up some worldly thing in order to become closer to God.
It turns out fasting is actually good for humans. At first you feel hungry and grouchy, but after a few days your metabolism changes. Your body burns off fat and then starts burning muscle. A rise in endorphins, one of the body’s natural hormones, makes you feel good and more alert. Your body also dissolves toxins stored in body fat.
The 27th day of Ramadan is Laylat Al Qadr, the Night of Power when the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. The main tradition on this night is to read.
On the last day of Ramadan, we prepare to celebrate with the Eid al-Fitr holiday feast.