Celebrations around the world: Ramadan, 2nd April – 1st May

Lit lantern in darkness for Ramadan

The Language Shop explores the festivals and events celebrated by different cultures around the world. This month we look at Ramadan, which takes place from 2nd April to 1st May, depending on lunar sighting.

What: The Islamic holy month of fasting, abstention, prayer and charity.

Why: It was during this month that the Islamic holy book, the Qur’an, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammed. Muslims fast and abstain from impure thoughts and behaviour during this sacred time to bring themselves closer to God. Going without food and drink during the day also reminds Muslims of the suffering of others in the world. Fasting during Ramadan is known as Sawm, and is one of the five pillars of Islam.

How: In addition to fasting and abstention between sunset and sunrise, Muslims attend special services at their mosque, and many attempt to read the entire Qur’an over the course of the month. Zakat, or giving to charity, is another pillar of Islam, so it is always important to Muslims. However, during Ramadan, it takes on even more importance. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the month with a two to three day celebration, involving lots of eating, drinking and dressing in your best clothes.

If you are observing Ramadan, we would love to hear about it. Please email nicole.kershaw@newham.gov.uk

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