Ramadan begins on May 17th for 1.6 billion people worldwide.

Ends on June 16, a day of celebration called Aid Al Fitr or Aid Assaghir.

For many years now, Milan has been a multicultural and multi-ethnic city and we are increasingly used to confronting citizens who have different traditions and celebrations.
To discover and understand one of the religious traditions present in the city with which – perhaps – we find ourselves having to interact, we have gathered a brief guide on what Ramadan is.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and lasts 29 or 30 days. The number of days varies according to the observation of the first crescent moon, being the months of the Islamic calendar based on a scan of the lunar time.

What is done during Ramadan

Throughout the month Muslims must refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and having sex between dawn and dusk and will celebrate in prayer the revelation of the Quran by God to Muhammad. In the month of Ramadan (in which according to tradition the Prophet consumed only a glass of goat’s milk and six dates a day) the Koran provides that children, sick people, pregnant women and those who have to undertake long journeys are exempted from fasting . Before retiring for the night, the faithful are called to special community prayers in which long passages of the Quran are recited.

Prayer

During Ramadan every practicing Muslim must go to pray in the mosque. In this period, besides the usual five daily prayers, one must recite a special prayer, the Taraweeh, the nocturnal prayer.

What does the Islamic calendar mean?

The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar in which the year zero corresponds to 622 AD, the year in which the prophet Muhammad and the first Muslims moved from the city of Mecca to that of Medina.
For Muslims, the current year is 1438.

Why is Ramadan never at the same time of the year?

The lunar calendar lasts about ten days less than the solar Gregorian one used in most of the world.
Every year, therefore, every Islamic month arrives ten days earlier than the previous year.

What does fasting consist of?

Fasting is often widely understood as an abstinence from food, but it is not just that. Ramadan fasts provide that they refrain from drinking, eating, having sex, lying, smoking, using foul language.
We need to be as devoted as possible, give charity and spend a lot of time reading the Koran and meditating.

How long does fasting last?

Fasting begins before dawn and ends after sunset. We must not eat or drink anything in the hours of light.
In Italy, you have to stop eating around 3:30 in the morning and start doing it again after 8:30 pm, but times vary from city to city.

What happens if the fast is not respected?

If a person is not able to fast he can decide whether to recover the fasts during the year, before the arrival of the next Ramadan, or whether to give a meal to a poor person for every day of fasting that jumps.

Can you eat anything at the end of the fast?

After saying a very short prayer, it is usual to eat dates or drink water to open the fast. Then follows a hearty meal.

What happens after the last day of fasting?

It is celebrated. The party that falls at the end of Ramadan is called Eid ul Fitr. The festivities begin with the rising of the new moon. During the Eid, Muslims wear their best clothes, exchange gifts, spend time with their family, eat abundantly and wish each other Eid mubarak, or “good Eid”.

So, if you want to make a good impression, remember the 16th of June to wish it to your Muslim friends.

Source: Sabika Shah Povia.