What Is Ramadan?

Everything you need to know about the month-long fast

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Feasts like this usually commemorate the beginning and end of Ramadan.

The first day of Ramadan marks the start of a month-long fast for all observing Muslims. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, which is why the month varies. For each day, Muslims give up all food and drink, including water, from sunrise to sunset.

The holiday is about self-sacrifice and purifying the soul. The main goal of the month-long fast is to revisit one’s relationship with religion and God. On top of that, the fast is meant to give Muslims a chance to evaluate their lives and come to a peace with themselves. This includes forgiving those who have wronged them, getting rid of bad habits, and working on relationships with family and friends.

Fasting during Ramadan doesn’t just include food and drinks. The purpose of the holiday is to restrain every part of the body from sin. During this month, Muslims try hard to keep themselves from participating in any sinful act, such as gossiping or cursing. 

Not eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset is a difficult task, so it’s important to eat foods that will help you sustain energy throughout the day if you are practicing Ramadan. Foods that are high in carbohydrates and protein are best for nutritional value. Healthy fats like peanut butter and avocado are also good for keeping yourself satiated. The key is to try to incorporate the widest variety of nutrients without overeating.

Ramadan will officially end this year at sundown on Monday, July 28. The end of the fast is usually celebrated by a feast with friends and families.

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