Tomorrow, Muslim people around the globe will begin a month long tradition of fast. They will abstain from food and drinks from sunrise to sunset for an entire month. This marks the month of Ramadan. Ramadan which is often known as Ramadhan or Ramzan, depending on what part of the world you are from, is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. The word “Ramadan” is derived from an Arabic word for intense heat, scorched ground and shortness of food and drink. It is considered to be the most holy and blessed month and commemorates when the Islamic holy book, the Quran is said to have been revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. This occurred on Laylat Al-Qadr, one of the last 10 nights of the month. Ramadan is a period of prayer, fasting, charity-giving and self-accountability for Muslims in the United States. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars (fundamental religious duties) of Islam.
Although it is a time of self-examination and increased religious devotion, it is also a time of joy and each morning period prior to starting fast and especially the breaking of the fast at sunset is time of gathering for families and friends in a celebratory manner. Since only two main meals are served during Ramadan, the suhoor, which is served before dawn, and the iftar, which is served after sunset, they are fairly important. The suhoor is intended to last one throughout the day, it tends to be a heavy and hearty meal. Suhoor ends when the sun rises and the fajr, or morning prayer, begins. At the end of the day, when the sun sets, the maghrib prayer starts, and the day’s fast is broken with the iftar meal. Many Muslims break their fast by eating dates before beginning the iftar meal. Muslims can continue eating and drinking throughout the night until the next day’s suhoor.
As such, the meals prepared during Ramadan are special in Muslim cultures and you may see dishes that you may not see all year long, just as Christians may only prepare certain things during Christmas. I thought it might be fun to highlight certain special Ramadan food and drinks from around the world during this time. This year Ramadan 2015 begins in the evening of Wednesday, June 17, so Muslim people around the world will begin fasting on Thursday, June 18th. After the month long practice of fasting, Ramadan 2015 ends in the evening of Friday, July 17. So, starting tomorrow and particularly on Fridays, because this is the holy day for Muslims, drop by and pick up fun facts and a Ramadan favorite recipe from somewhere on this globe. You won’t just find dishes from the Middle East, don’t be surprised if you find something from the Islamic culture in South Asia or even Russia. After all, Islam is a religion that people practice all over the world not just a nation.