Celebrating Ramadan


Provided by E. Sider

Decorated for Ramadan, the streets of Jerusalem shine into the night. Ramadan is one of the biggest celebrations within the Islamic faith, and it started at sundown last night!

Margaux Hunter, Editorials Editor

 As of sunset yesterday evening, Ramadan began for practicing muslims across the world. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim year and is observed with strict fasting from sunrise to sunset. Those who participate cannot eat or drink anything, including water. Ramadan lasts 30 days, but the exact dates change from year to year.

 The holiday celebrates Allah (God) giving the prophet Muhammad the first verses of the Quran in 610 A.D.. Celebrating this holiday is the fourth of the five pillars of Islam: the five duties that every practicing muslim must carry out. Those who practice Islam fast during Ramadan as a way to reflect upon their lives and to have renewed gratitude for everything that Allah has done. Also, it is a way to share the hunger and the thirst of the needy, to remind muslims of the third pillar: to give a portion of their income to help those in need.

 Senior Eliya Sider loves the holiday and says that it is “a time where family takes time out of their day to sit at a table and eat together. Each day, the dinner is held at a different person’s house, so we end up seeing everyone more than once and enjoy many Middle Eastern meals. Another thing I love about Ramadan is the way that everyone’s attitudes change… we focus on enriching ourselves in the religion and experiencing the good in life… we [fast to] humble ourselves and get away from the usually materialistic world and realize how much we truly have.”

 Not only is Ramadan about fasting, it is also about giving up worldly pleasures, such as smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. Those who abstain from such pleasures do so as a means of spiritual purification.

 To break the fast at the end of the month, muslims usually celebrate with a big three-day celebration called Eid al-Fitr. Loved ones exchange gifts, and some would compare it to Christmas.

 Ramadan is  a celebration of Allah and one’s faith to Him. It is a time to gather with family and friends who are hungry and thirsty like you, and it is integral in the lives of practicing muslims.