Ramadan in Palestine! Have you heard of Ramadan before? In this article, we will explain what Ramadan is, and in particular what Ramadan is like in Palestine.
Ramadan is the holiest month of the year for Muslims, during which Muslims are not allowed to drink, eat or even smoke from sunrise until sunset. This month is very important for Muslims, because fasting is considered one of the pillars of Islam.
When does Ramadan start and end?
The month of Ramadan in Palestine is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, which operates on a lunar system. It beings when the moon is a crescent – for example in 2017, Ramadan began either on the eve of Saturday May 27th or Sunday May 28th depending on whether the moon could be seen as a crescent on Friday. When Ramadan ends, Muslims celebrate breaking their fast for three days, in a celebration named Al-Eid in Arabic.
Why do Muslims fast?
Fasting is not a new idea, and it existed in previous religions, although there are differences as to what you are allowed to eat and how long you must fast for. The reasons behind this rite is firstly to feel empathy for those who have to go without food because they are poor. By fasting, you can feel how people suffer by going without food for long times. This will teach you about your duties to help those less fortunate than yourself.
Fasting also teaches you to control your desires. Since you can control such fundamental desires such as eating and drinking, you will also be able to control other desires, and to practice patience.
When can Muslims break their fast?
If Muslims are sick or very old, or travelling more than 82km, they can break their fast. In addition, women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or menstruating need not fast. Generally speaking, anyone who might put their body or health at stake by fasting are not allowed to fast.
What does Ramadan in Palestine look like?
Palestine is a Muslim society, so many customs are similar to the customs of other Muslim countries. In Ramadan, people try to be more good and generous, and so social relations improve as people are more eager to help each other.
Everyone has Iftar (the meal eaten after sunset) at the same time, so all the streets empty during sunset as people wait for the Athan, a prayer call that comes from the mosques. People in Ramadan in Palestine also get together with their family and friends more regularly, as they join the Iftar together. People in Ramadan share food as a sign of cooperation, love and charity. The streets are also decorated with lights, reflecting the month’s celebrations.