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Friday, June 15, 2018

Ramadan - Eid Mubarak

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, which consists of 12 months and lasts for about 354 days. The word “Ramadan” is derived from an Arabic word for intense heat, scorched ground and shortness of food and drink. It is considered to be the most holy and blessed month. Fighting is not allowed during this period.

The month of Ramadan traditionally begins with a new moon sighting, marking the start of the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. Many Muslims (except children, the sick and the elderly) abstain from food, drink, and certain other activities during daylight hours in Ramadan.
This is considered as the holiest season in the Islamic year and commemorates the time when the Qu’ran (Islamic holy book) is said to have been revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. This occurred on Laylat Al-Qadr, one of the last 10 nights of the month.  Ramadan ends when the first crescent of the new moon is sighted again, marking the new lunar month’s start. Eid-al-Fitr is the Islamic holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.

Ramadan Traditions


Traditional colored lanterns, also known as Fanoos, are an integral part of Ramadan in Egypt, where they are hung at the entrance of each building, supermarket and shop. The tradition is believed to date back to the Fatimid period and has spread to other countries in the Arab world.

Pheni and Khajla:
Discs of thin, deep-fried vermicelli and crispy, puffed up discs of flaky pastry soaked with milk and eaten for the pre-dawn meal, or Suhur, in Pakistan. Heaps of both items can be found at sweets shops and bakeries during the entire month. In Lebanon, Jordan and Palestinian territories, the equivalent is Qatayef and Kunafa.

Dates With Names:
In Egypt, dates — typically eaten first to break the fast — are named after leaders, politicians or celebrities. From ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak to Islamist President Mohammad Morsi to the current president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Egyptian Ramadan dates have kept in line with the county’s political oscillations.

Despite the perpetual turmoil of Iraq, one surviving tradition is mehebes, a popular game played during Ramadan where players hope to win sweets by guessing who among their opposing team is hiding a ring in their hands. 
Before television and radio, it was the only way to alert people it was time to break the fast. A few places, such as Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, have kept up the tradition. Every day at sunset during the holy month, cannon shots are fired from 12 locations at iftar time.

A person entrusted with waking people up for a pre-dawn meal and prayers ahead of the day’s fast by banging on drums. While the centuries-old tradition is fading away — phone alarms replacing the drumming — the custom is still alive in some parts of Beirut, Cairo and Gaza.

The typical drum cry goes:  “Oh, sleeping one, wake up and pray for God — Ramadan Kareem.”

When Does Ramadan Begin and End?
Islam is based on a lunar calendar, so the start of Ramadan on the Gregorian calendar varies each year.
Once the new crescent moon has been sighted, observance begins. The new moon at the end of the month signals Eid al-Fitr, a three-day festival marking the end of fasting.
The majority of Shiites tend to mark Ramadan a day later than Sunnis, although this Ramadan is an exception and a rare event where Shiite and Sunnis will mark Ramadan together — at least in most places.
Wed May 16   2018    Ramadan starts
Mon May 6     2019    Ramadan starts
Fri   Apr 24    2020    Ramadan starts

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