Ramadan is a Muslim holiday and is observed in the ninth lunar month in the Muslim lunar calendar. It is believed that in this month that the Qu'ran was revealed to the prophet Mohammad.
In 2012, this date is set to start on July 20.
During Ramadan, Muslims all over the world restrain themselves from:
- sexual contact and intercourse
The fast is done during daylight hours for 30 days.
What most people don't know is that Ramadan is more than refraining from food and drink, but the follower must not partake in gossip, unlawful activities or thoughts. Worshippers must not look at unlawful things. Of course, those who are ill or small children do not fast.
The Sudhoor and Iftar
is the light meal eaten prior to daylight. The fast begins after this meal and resumes until sundown.
is when the fast ends for the day and a halal meal may be eaten. Any type of food may be eaten, however, the most popular are honey, breads, figs, dates, fruits, and olives.
Eid al Fitr
The Eid is a 3 day festival following the end of Ramadan. During this time, Muslims recognize the poor and give to charity and to celebrate the blessings of Ramadan.
Young Children and Ramadan
It is recommended that children who have reached puberty, around 12 to 13 years of age, participate in Ramadan traditions. For children who are younger, there are several activities that they can take part in without fasting. Reading children's books about Ramadan will engage children and help them learn more about the holiday. Arts and crafts, star gazing, and helping out in the kitchen to prepare for the break in the day's fast are other ways to get young children involved.
Maintaining Health During Ramadan
When it comes time to break the day's fast, some foods are better than others. During the period of Ramadan, when fasting lasts from sunrise to sunset, the body can develop mild health problems such as headaches, low blood sugar, and lethargy. To avoid such problems, one should carefully monitor their eating habits once fasting for the day has ended. Dates are an excellent source of fiber, sugar, magnesium, potassium, and have carbohydrates which will aid the body in maintaining health. The carbohydrates found in dates also make the fruit a slower digesting food, much better than fried or fatty foods which digest fast and leave one hungry for more!