Ramadan FAQs

What is Ramadan?

Celebrated by Muslims, Ramadan is a holy month of fasting, introspection, prayer, and charity. It celebrates the month during which Muhammad received the initial revelations of what became the Quran, the holy book in Islamic tradition. Ramadan is a time to practice self-restraint and self-reflection, and is celebrated by 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide. 


During Ramadan, Muslims do not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. This tradition of daily fasting is one of the five fundamental principles of Islam religion. Fasting is seen as a way to cleanse the soul and have empathy for those in the world who are hungry and less fortunate. Muslims go to work and school and take care of their usual activities during Ramadan, and some also read the entire Quran, say special prayers, and attend religious services at mosques more frequently during this time. 

 

The end of the month of Ramadan is marked with a three-day celebration known as "Eid al-Fitr," or "the Feast of Fast-Breaking." It includes special prayers, meals with friends and relatives, and an exchange of gifts. Eid al-Fitr begins after the last day of Ramadan and is one of Islam's most important holidays. 


To wish someone a happy holiday, say "Ramadan Mubarak," which means "Have a blessed Ramadan."

When is Ramadan?

"Ramadan" is the name of the ninth month in the 12-month Islamic calendar, a lunar calendar that’s based on the phases of the moon. Ramadan officially begins at the start of the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which is officially determined by the sighting of the crescent or "new" moon.


The lunar calendar is 11 days shorter than the standard 365-day Gregorian calendar observed in the United States, which is why Ramadan starts approximately 11 days earlier each year and, over time, passes through all four seasons. 


For more details, see our Calendar


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