Ramadan is a special month in the Islamic calendar, marking the ninth month of the Islamic year, and bringing in a time for fasting, reflection, prayer, and community.
This year, Ramadan begins on the evening of April 1 and finishes on the evening of Saturday, April 30.
Here’s a little more about what Ramadan entails, how it all began, and how it’s celebrated here in Australia and the Middle East.
What is Ramadan?
At its core, Ramadan is a month-long religious event that begins with the appearance of the crescent moon.
Islamic tradition ordains that followers must fast from dawn to dusk during this month. It is a time for Muslims everywhere to practice self-restraint – one of the pillars of Islam – staying away from not just food but also drinks and any kind of immoral behaviour or unkind thoughts throughout the day.
Each day following the sunset prayer, Muslim families gather together to break their fast as one. Again in the morning, families gather for a meal before the sun rises to start the day.
Keep in mind that these rules do have their exemptions. Children, pregnant women, and those who are unwell are just some of those who can continue to eat during daylight hours.
When Ramadan draws to a close, Muslims all over the world celebrate Eid al-Fitr, or Eid Mubarak. This is a time for families to come together, enjoy wonderful traditional dishes, eat plenty of sweet treats, pray, offer gifts, and dress in their finest clothing.
While different cultures celebrate Eid al-Fitr in their ways, the one thing that remains the same across the world is fantastic Middle Eastern food.
What is the history of Ramadan?
The history of Ramadan is tied up in the origins of Islam itself.
In essence, the ninth month marks the time when the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammed by the angel Gabriel in A.D. 610. That’s how it came to be celebrated today with good deeds, prayer, self-restraint, and family time.
The word Ramadan is derived from the Arabic word Ramidha, or Ar-Ramad means ‘scorching heat’ or ‘dryness’. However, since Ramadan moves each year slightly, it can be during any season. In fact, Ramadan will circle through the Gregorian (standard) calendar once every 33 years.
How is Ramadan celebrated in the Middle East vs in Australia?
Today, many Muslims celebrate Ramadan all over the world by fasting during daylight hours, performing good deeds, and taking meals with family.
In Islam, it doesn’t matter whether you’re in suburban Sydney or Saudi Arabia – Ramadan at its heart is the same everywhere you go, with some variations in culture and tradition.
And on the holiday of Eid al-Fitr, people across the Middle East, Australia, and the world will gather for a communal meal to share gifts and offer a special prayer.
We can’t wait to celebrate Ramadan Kareem with a special Ramadan menu here at Alma’s Kitchen. This year, there will be a variety of traditional Mezze dishes and the option for skewers.
And if you’d prefer to host a celebration in your own home and would like a hand with dish preparation, our catering menus can be just the ticket for a fuss-free, enjoyable Eid Mubarak with loved ones.