When we celebrate the stories of our American holidays, we are united by different cultures and customs that fill our calendars. We embrace the unique and it becomes familiar, just as Ramadan has become a part of our multi-faith nation.
This observance marks the ninth month of the Islamic lunar year and as the new moon travels through yearly cycles, so does the first day of Ramadan. It will begin at sunset, and continue through 30 days of prayers and fasting, to commemorate Allah’s revelation of the Quran to the prophet Muhammad.
To those not familiar with Ramadan, the idea of a 30-day fast seems severe, if not impossible. Each day ends at sundown with a single date and a sip of water. However, this is followed by a delicious meal that makes up for the long day without food and drink. Deep gratitude for family and shared blessings grace the table, much like a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
Come sunrise, the next day begins with prayers and reading from the Quran. Throughout the month, fast and feast continue until the cycle ends with the next new moon. The month of Ramadan teaches us important lessons regardless of our differences. A deeper understanding of the Quran comes with each reading and prayer. A day of fasting brings new appreciation for food that graces the table at sunset.
The evening meal draws friends and families closer together. This is a time for reflection and an opportunity to broaden our perspectives. Everyone is ultimately united in gratitude for everyday bounties by experiencing real hunger for the basics in life. Ramadan centers around prayers and fasting, but through this contemplation and self-denial comes spiritual reward and renewal.