On Sunday 19th July, 1.6 billion people around the world will celebrate the end of Ramadan 2015! There will be music, singing, beautiful lanterns, delicious food, laughter, friendship and of course a sense of achievement and happiness having fasted during daylight for a whole month!
So what exactly is Ramadan I hear you say? Well, Ramadan takes place in the ninth month of the Muslim year and it sees Muslims fast from sunrise until sunset as a demonstration of their faith and worship. Ramadan is one of the five pillars of the religion of Islam, rendering it one of the highest forms of Islamic worship; in Pakistan it’s actually illegal to eat or drink in public during the month of Ramadan!
The act of fasting from food, drink, smoking and other pleasures strengthens a Muslim’s spirituality, self discipline and self control as well as affirming the Muslim community. Ramadan is also said to promote good character and increase patience, determination and generosity; the goal is to focus on and improve the individual which will in turn encourage better worship, increase spiritual piety and encourage good treatment towards others.
Muslims follow the lunar year, rather than the Gregorian calendar that we use here in the UK, so Ramadan is not always at the same time each year and could be in the middle of a hot summer or a freezing winter! During the fast you cannot eat or drink anything, not even water, which means if it falls on a hot June day it can be a real test of character!
To put that into perspective, because it’s winter in Australia and the days are shorter, Muslims living in Sydney for example will have to fast for less than 12 hours, whereas those living in Reykjavik, Iceland, will have to fast for over 21 hours because it’s their summer and the days are almost twice as long!
The fasting period ends upon the sighting of the next new moon, which occurs after 29 or 30 days. This is called Eid al-Fitr and as well as marking the end of Ramadan it also signals the start of a feast that can sometimes last 3 days! Millions of Muslims around the world and some of the 2.7 million Muslims living in the UK will celebrate with their friends and family. Contrary to popular belief, they will be celebrating their strength to have completed the month of fasting and giving thanks for the delicious food they’ll be enjoying, rather than the end of Ramadan itself.
If you’ve been taking part in Ramadan or know someone who has, or even if you just fancy a nice little chat you can always rely on Cherry Call to provide you with cheap international calls!
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