When does Ramadan 2020 begin and end? See Ramadan dates—and learn more about how Ramadan is observed.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is considered a holy month that 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.
Beginning at puberty, all Muslims (with certain exceptions, such as if one is ill, traveling, pregnant, elderly, etc.) take part in the month-long sunrise-to-sunset fast that is the hallmark of Ramadan. Muslims believe that fasting cleanses the body, and the practice reminds them of the suffering of the poor.
Eating and drinking (including water) is prohibited from sunrise to sunset, and the day’s abstinence is offset by a pre-dawn meal called sehri and a nightly meal known as iftar. For iftar, many traditionally break the fast by first eating dates, as the Prophet Muhammad is believed to have done to break his fast. Foods traditionally served at iftar vary; one such dish is the Kurdish Hot-and-Spicy Red-Lentil Soup. Food is often shared with a poor family during Ramadan.
At the end of the 29- or 30-day fast (depending on the length of the lunar cycle) is Eid al-Fitr (Festival of Breaking the Fast), when there is much feasting and celebration.
When is Ramadan?
Ramadan is said to begin at the first observance of the new crescent Moon (or on a date pre-determined by astronomical calculation). The dates listed below are based on the astronomical calculation, so may differ slightly from those seen elsewhere.
|Year||First Evening of Ramadan (fasting begins at dawn next day)||Eid al-Fitr|
|2019||Sunday, May 5 at sundown||Monday, June 3 at sundown|
|2020||Thursday, April 23 at sundown||Saturday, May 23 at sundown|
|2021||Monday, April 12 at sundown||Wednesday, May 12 at sundown|
(Dates are according to The Fiqh Council of North America and reflect North American regions.)
If you observe Ramadan, please share your traditions below!