Ramadan is a holy time that is celebrated all around the world. For 29 or 30 days, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. More than that, Ramadan is a time for Muslims to worship and concentrate on their faith. Today we will go over the vocabulary used to talk about Ramadan in English. Keep reading for some facts and words about Ramadan! 

What is Ramadan?  

According to Islamic tradition, it was during Ramadan that God revealed the holy book, known as Quran, to the Prophet Muhammad. This happened on what is known as the Night of Power. For Muslims, Ramadan is the time of the year in which they read the Quran, pray in the mosque, and fast. It is believed God will forgive the sins of those who respect the holy month.  

ramadan quran
This is the holy book, known as Quran.

Most people believe Ramadan is all about fasting, which means not eating or drinking during certain hours. Even though fasting is a big part of this period, it is important to understand that Ramadan is a holy month. And, Muslims celebrate this period with different traditions, according to their region. You can read more about fascinating Ramadan traditions from around the world. 

When is it celebrated? 

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. This calendar is based on the phases of the moon, and that’s why it is called a lunar calendar. The solar calendar, on the other hand, is based on the sun. The months of the lunar calendar are made of 29 or 30 days, while the solar calendar months are made of 30 or 31 days, with the exception of February.  

In 2021, Ramadan will probably start on Monday, April 12 and end Tuesday, May 11. However, dates vary according to the crescent moon and they change depending on the country.  

It is important to know that the date of Ramadan in the Gregorian calendar, the solar dating system, moves forward about 11 days each year. That happens due to the different lengths of the Islamic and Gregorian years. For instance, Ramadan in 2020 began on April 24 and will begin on April 3 in 2022.  

How does fasting work? Plus more words about Ramadan 

Now, let’s talk about fasting and its role in Ramadan. Let’s go over some more words about Ramadan.

One of the Pillars of Islam 

The Five Pillars of Islam constitute the basic norms of Islamic practice. Fasting during Ramadan, which is called sawm, is one of them. The other four are: shahada (confession of faith), salat (prayer), zakat (almsgiving), and hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca). 

Dawn and dusk 

During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. In other wods, this is during the daylight hours. They eat at night. Dawn is what we call the first appearance of light in the sky before sunrise. On the other hand, dusk refers to the time before night when it is not yet dark. Twilight is the name given to the period between dawn and sunrise or to the period between dusk and sunset.  

It is not all about food and drink 

One of the biggest misconceptions about fasting during Ramadan is that it means Muslims need to refrain only from food and drink. The truth is that besides not eating or drinking, it is also important to avoid sexual activity and other forms of immoral behavior, such as impure thoughts.  

Time to break the fast 

The meal before dawn is called the suḥūr. That’s another one of the words about Ramadan. Eggs, fruits, and oatmeal are among the favorite foods for this meal. Muslims break their fast again after the sunset prayer. They usually gather in their homes or mosques to eat a meal called ifṭār, which literally means breakfast. Common foods are dates, apricots, vegetables, rice, and meat.  

ramadan food

The Feast 

The end of the Ramadan is celebrated with a holiday called Eid al-Fitr, which means the feast of fast-breaking. A feast is a celebration that has a lot of special foods. Some traditions for Eid al-Fitr include: women dressing in white clothes, baking special treats, exchanging gifts, visiting the graves of the deceased relatives, and gatherings for special family meals and praying in mosques.  

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Ramadan Mubarak! This is a common phrase in Arabic that is used to wish someone a blessed time. If you like learning about religious holidays, check out some words about Easter. See you next time!