Ramadan started this year for most Muslims in Europe on May 16 and will end on June 14. With the month long fast coming slowing to a close, we thought it would be cool to mention some of the fun and interesting facts about the month of fasting.
1. The new moon determines the start of Ramadan
The start of Ramadan can vary in different places, as people still rely on someone seeing the new moon with the naked eye. This year Turkey started on the 16th while Saudi Arabia started on the 17th. In Europe and the United States the Muslim communities rely on astronomical calculations. They will start on the eve of May 15, with the first day of fasting being May 16.
2. You can be exempt from Ramadan
Some of the people exempted from fasting during Ramadan are pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding and people who are physically and mentally ill. Individuals who are traveling, engaged in hard labour and women on their period can also skip some days and make up for the days missed later.
3. Egypt turns their clocks back
In Egypt the clocks are pushed back an hour during the holy month so that the fast feels like it is ending earlier and the evenings are lengthened. Work days are made shorter during the month to accommodate the additional time spent in prayer and in enjoying festive meals to end the daily fast.
4. A date is traditionally the first thing consumed to infringe the fast
5. It’s a time for giving back
Ramadan is a time of giving. More than 50,000 meal boxes are served to those in need every day by different organisations in UAE alone.
6. Muslims in Argentina and Australia have the shortest fasting hours lasting between just 9 ½ to 10 hours.
7. It’s not just about giving up food
During Ramadan Muslims will not have even a drop of water between dawn to dusk. In addition to not drinking or eating anything all day, they also refrain from sex, cigarettes and even gossip.
8. It’s a time to come together as a family and community
In most Muslim countries Ramadan is an interesting blend of celebration and austerity. While abstaining from many things during daytime, families and friends often visit with one other after sunset, and fill the streets of major cities with food and laughter till the early hours.
9. It is not a time to diet
In spite of the daily fasting, Ramadan is known for being a month of increasing weight gain. Fasting and low activity levels during the day often lead to binge eating at night.
To tie up our, hopefully interesting and informative facts we’ll leave you with a traditional greeting „Ramadan Mubarak“ meaning „blessed Ramadan.“ If you have any Muslim friends you can greet with this for the next couple of weeks.
If you have any positive comments to share about Ramadan, fun facts, food or experiences we would love to hear from you.