he blessed month of Ramadan, a time of reflection, contemplation, and celebration for Muslims all over the world, is almost here.
The annual observance of this special month is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam and commemorates Muhammad’s first revelation.
The Islamic calendar is based on lunar cycles, unlike our Gregorian calendar, so the exact dates of Ramadan change every year.
Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s Ramadan, including what the special occasion is all about and when it will be celebrated.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is held during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is a time for spiritual reflection, acts of charity, and spending time with loved ones.
Ramadan remembers the month the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. The night the Quran was revealed is known as Lailut ul-Qadr (‘The Night of Power’).
Throughout the Ramadan period, adult Muslims of able body and mind start their day fasting, with a pre-dawn meal known as ‘suhur’.
The fasting involves abstaining from eating, drinking, and sexual intimacy until sunset.
Many observers also choose to stay away from smoking, taking medicine, and chewing gum during this time.
Those who are acutely or chronically ill, diabetic, menstruating, breastfeeding, or pregnant are not expected to fast, as well as children who haven’t hit puberty yet and the elderly.
During this time, studying the Quran, donating money to the needy, and committing more time to prayers are encouraged.
The fasting period concludes after sunset with a meal called “iftar”, which sees families and friends come together around the dinner table.
When is Ramadan 2023?
As the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle, Ramadan rotates by approximately 10 days each year.
This year, Ramadan begins on the evening of Wednesday, March 22, and concludes on Friday, April 21.
When is Eid al Fitr 2023?
Eid al-Fitr is a festival that marks the end of Ramadan.
This year, it is set to begin on the evening of Friday, April 21, and will last until the evening of Saturday, April 22.
What is Eid al-Adha and when does it start?
Eid al-Adha, also known as the Greater Eid, is regarded as the second-most important festival in the Muslim calendar.
Observed by Muslims around the world, it marks the culmination of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca and commemorates Abraham, who was willing to sacrifice his son in order to obey God, but was stopped by God who provided him with an animal to sacrifice instead.
To commemorate this, Muslims feast on an animal but will divide it into three parts. They give one part to the poor and those in need, one part to friends, and keep one part to have with their family.
This year, Eid al-Adha will be held between Wednesday, June 28 and Sunday, July 2.