Traditional fasting is done during the month of Ramadan. Ramadan follows a lunar calendar so it varies in it’s celebration on the Gregorian calendar. The muslim is to refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, and sex for the daylight hours of the entire month of Ramadan. It is usually a month of high emotions throughout the Muslim world.

 

Ramadan is celebrated throughout the Muslim world, as a time of fasting in the daylight hours, and then celebrations and parties in the evening and night hours. Many Muslims rise before the sun in order to get a substantial meal before the day begins, and have huge feasts through the month in the evenings. The last days of Ramadan are the greatest feast days however, as the fast ends many celebrations are held. Ironically, many Muslims gain more weight during the fasting month than in any other time of the year.


The fast is supposed to be to refocus the Muslim on God, and on the spiritual life, refraining from physical pleasures in order to focus the heart on God. It is meant to be not just one of refraining from food and drink but also on all vices, such as gossip or lust.


Muslims believe that the month of Ramadan was the month that the first verses of the Quran were revealed to Muhammad, thus marking the beginning of Islam. Many mosques, radio stations, television broadcasts are dedicated during Ramadan to broadcasting the entire Quran through the month. The Quran is traditionally memorized and chanted. It is sometimes seen as the feast of lights, as many of the celebrations are held after dark, and many decorate with special lanterns adding to the festive atmosphere.


Ramadan also specializes in many dramas and annual shows on TV that are looked forward to, similar to the viewings of “It’s a Wonderful Life” during the Christmas season here in the States. Children look forward to the abundance of traditional cookies and sweets in the evenings during the month and in the end of the month celebrations gifts are sometimes exchanged.