Ramadan and Eid: Sharing Wisdom and Love
When is Ramadan
Ramadan will be celebrated on the following dates:
2014: June 18 - July 27
2015: June 18 - July 17
2016: June 6 - July 5
2017: May 27 - June 25
Ramadan is the ninth month of Hijri, the Islamic calendar which is based on the lunar cycle. People of the Muslim faith believe that during this very month, the prophet Muhammad went into seclusion in the desert near Mecca, and it was during the time of this fast that he received the first revelations of the Holy Qur'an. Hence, this month, whose name translates in English to “scorching heat,” has ever since been marked by Muslims around the world with extended prayer, in-depth Qur'an study, and a 29- or 30-day fast that starts at the dawn and ends in the dusk.
During the daytime fast, any capable adult who is not travelling is required to abstain from not only food and drink, but also from smoking, swearing, and any other immodest behavior. Once the sun disappears behind the horizon, families gather to break the fast at the tables at home or in a mosque for a traditional meal called Iftar. Custom dictates that it is best to break the fast with three dates and water, since these were the foodstuffs the Prophet himself broke the fast with, but today dates are usually complemented with many traditional local treats that transform the meal into a true feast. Towards dawn, before the beginning of the fast, there is another traditional meal called Suhoor. This meal prepares the body for the hardships of day’s fast and is usually simpler and quieter than Iftar.
Besides being a period of prayer and fasting, the month of Ramadan is also time for extended charity towards the poor - a time of giving sweet gifts
and extending kindness. It is believed that the donations made during this month count twofold in the afterlife. It is also considered a blessing to help less fortunate people to break their daily fast during the holy month - hence in many places, wealthier people make it a habit to arrange open Iftar meals for the community, too.
Ending the Fast
The end of Ramadan - the first day of the new moon - is celebrated with a holiday called Eid al Fitrm which means "Holiday of Breaking the Fast" or "Sweets Holiday." It is widely considered to be a day of communal unity for the followers of Islam. The holiday demands that its celebrants wear their best available clothing, and prepare and indulge in lavish meals. Often the festivities are extended for two, three, or even four days.
Since Islam is such a widespread religion throughout the globe, customs surrounding the holy month and Eid vary from place to place. Yet in recent years it has become customary almost everywhere to light Ramadan lanterns - a tradition that has its origins in Egypt, - and to make and send Ramadan gifts for loved ones, friends, those less fortunate. Where ever loved ones are celebrating around the world though, the perfect gift choice for Ramadan is a gourmet gift basket
, particularly one that include dates, dried fruit, sweets, and other delicious foods to help your recipient break the fast. Eid al Fitr gifts can also include clothing and jewelry for those who are nearest and dearest, or elements of Islamic decor (themed balloons, stickers, lanterns, and similar items) for acquaintances to set a festive mood. Whatever varied traditions the celebrants of Ramdan and Eid al Fitr engage in, you can be sure they will be seeking wisdom and sharing love.
Where is Ramadan celebrated?
Ramadan is celebrated all around the world - where ever there are observant Muslim people. The largest concentrations of Muslim people are in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and Turkey.