Learn about the holiday of Ramadan and when observances begin for 2016.
What is Ramadan?
The holiday honors the time when Allah, via the angel Gabriel, revealed the first verses of the Qur'an, the holy book of Islam, to a caravan trader named Muhammad.
Muslims believe that fasting cleanses the body, and the practice reminds them of the suffering of the poor.
Beginning at age 12, all Muslims take part in the monthlong dawn-to-sunset fast that is the hallmark of Ramadan. Eating and drinking (including water) is prohibited during daylight hours, and the day's abstinence is offset by a nightly meal known as iftar. Food is often shared with a poor family during Ramadan.
At the end of the 30-day fast is Eid al-Fitr (Festival of Breaking the Fast), when there is much feasting and celebration.
First Day of Ramadan
|First day of Ramadan (fasting begins)|
|2014||Sunday, June 29|
|2015||Thursday, June 18|
|2016||Monday June 6*|
* The Fiqh Council of North America lists the first day as June 6 (starting June 5 at sundown). However, elsewhere in the world, the first day may be June 7.
If you observe Ramadan, please share your traditions below!