Our Beautiful Human Family Corner: Cultural Spotlight on Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the 12-month Islamic calendar, a lunar calendar that’s
based on the phases of the moon. This means that Ramadan is observed a different
time each year. This year, it will be celebrated from April 12-May 12.
Phases of the moon, courtesy of Griffith Observatory
Ramadan is the most sacred month of the year for Muslims. It's a time of celebration and joy, to
be spent with loved ones. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk each day.
They are supposed to avoid eating and drinking, as well as unkind words or behavior.
All Muslims who have reached puberty and are in good health are required to fast.
Ramadan is also a time to practice self-reflection. 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. The first pre-dawn meal of the day during Ramadan is called “suhoor.”
Each day’s fast is broken with a meal known as “iftar.” Traditionally, a date is eaten
to break the fast.
Iftars are often elaborate feasts celebrated with family and friends. The types of
foods served vary according to culture. At the end of Ramadan there’s a three-day
celebration called Eid al-Fitr, or the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast. It's kind of like the
Muslim version of Christmas, in the sense that it's a religious holiday where everyone comes together for big meals with family and friends, exchanges presents, and generally has a lovely