Ramadan Begins | Almanac.com

Ramadan Begins

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Ramadan begins at sundown. The exact timing is subject to the first sighting of the Moon. Beginning at age 12, all Muslims take part in the month-long sunrise-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. The holiday honors the time when the angel Gabriel revealed the first verses of the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, to a desert-wandering caravan trader named Muhammad. Muslims believe that fasting cleanses the body, and the practice reminds them of the suffering of the poor. 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), replete with feasting and celebration. Read more about Ramadan.