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How to Celebrate Ramadan – Food, Fasting & More.

From fasting to food and the cultural history behind this important Muslim holiday, the infographic below will help you learn the basics about celebrating Ramadan.

How to celebrate Ramadan

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Ramadan is the holiest holiday for Islamic people. With more than 1.5 billion Muslims, this global holiday is an international celebration that lasts an entire lunar month.

What IS Ramadan?

Ramadan commemorates the month that the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) received the first revelations of Q’uran from the angel Gabriel. Although Mohammed was unable to read or write, he was able to produce the book of Allah’s law which is a miracle of revelation.  When you celebrate Ramadan, that miracle is the origin of this important holiday.

How to Celebrate Ramadan

If you’re ready to celebrate, or want to know what to expect if you’re in a Muslim country or visiting Muslim friends, here are some of the things to know.

  1. Ramadan begins on the new moon of the 9th month of the Islamic calendar.
  2. The Ramadan fast lasts from dawn until dusk each day.
  3. Fasting includes no food, no cursing, no smoking, and no love-making from dusk until dawn.
  4. The young, sick, elderly, and pregnant are excused from the fast.
  5. At dusk, families and communities celebrate together to pray, break fast, and ensure everyone eats.
  6. Ramadan requires charity. Muslims give tithes, Ramadan gifts, and food to their friends, family, and the less fortunate.
  7. Ending on the last day of the 9th month, it gives way to a three-day celebration called Eid Al Fitr.

Foods of Ramadan

Although fasting is a part of Ramadan, so is food. Here are some of the traditional foods that you’ll find as people begin to break their fast and celebrate.  In the spirit of the holiday, many of these dishes are served family style and are meant for sharing with everyone.

  • Dates – Traditionally the first food eaten to break the fast, these are the healthy candies of Ramadan.
  • Jellab – A sweet drink of date syrup, rose water, and carob topped with Pine Nuts. It is filling and refreshing on fast days.
  • Mahshi – Finger foods made with peppers, zucchinis, tomatoes, and leaves stuffed with flavored rice and meats.
  • Luqaimat – Sweet dumplings made of butter, sugar, milk, and flour.
  • Fatoush Salad – Packed with chickpeas and broad beans, this fresh veggie salad is delicious, and keeps you filled up for the coming fast.
  • Kunafa – A shredded sweetened wheat pastry filled with cream, cheese, nuts, or raisins. Every region has its own delicious recipe.

Ramadan Customs

Ramadan is a time for gratitude, forgiveness, generosity, reflection, and celebration.  It’s a time to be generous with the ones you love as well as strangers.  You are supposed to help one another with charitable acts and by showing kindness.  Here are some of the traditions, jargon, and folklore that go along with this holiday.

  • Sahoor – Gathering with family at dawn for a pre-fast meal.
  • Breaking the Fast – Eat an odd number of dates first for luck.
  • Search for the Night of Power – On the odd numbered nights of the last ten nights of Ramadan, worship is said to be better than 1,000 months of worship.
  • Engage in Du’a – Du’a is a prayer or calling out to Allah to praise his blessings, seek forgiveness, and ask for guidance.
  • Read Q’uran every day – Because Ramadan is about receiving the Q’uran, this is a way to connect to its wisdom and share The Prophet’s (PBUH) path.