Following the springtime holidays of Easter and Passover this past month, the next major religious holiday around the world is Ramadan, running this year from Sunday, May 5 to Tuesday, June 4. Since we are now in the midst of Ramadan season, let’s take a moment to recognize this feast and understand its significance.
Ramadan is a Muslim holiday that takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which is a time when Muslims celebrate the revelation of the Quran to Muhammad. The timing, like most holidays, is linked with the cycles of the moon, which is why the holiday lasts from 29 to 30 days. This is known most prominently as a time of fasting, which is obligatory from dawn to sunset for all adult Muslims (barring those who cannot participate due to illness, etc.). Fasting includes food and liquid, as well as activities such as smoking and sex. In fact, all sinful behavior is to be carefully avoided during this time, to maximize the effectiveness of the fasting period.
In addition to fasting, Ramadan is a time for acts of charity — such as giving a portion of one’s savings to the poor, nightly prayers — called Tarawih, and recitation of the Quran in its entirety (over the course of the month). As with many religious holidays, practices during Ramadan vary from place to place. Some Muslim countries light up the city with lanterns to increase the spirit of festivity, while others have traditionally used fire-crackers. In some countries, alcohol sales are banned during this time.
To wish someone a happy Ramadan celebration, you can say either “Ramadan Mubarak” or “Ramadan Kareem.” The first means “Blessed Ramadan,” while the second signifies “Generous Ramadan.” Both are acceptable greetings during this period. To all who celebrate Ramadan, The Language Learning Institute would like to wish you a very happy and blessed Ramadan!