What is the meaning of Ramadan?
Ramadan is one of the most important months in Muslim culture.
Ramadan takes place in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
The month is defined by an extended period of abstinence, where Muslim practitioners will give up their “sinful” behaviour.
Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, and most Muslims are required to participate, except for the young, old and ill.
Those who take part fast from sunrise to sunset for one month. In this time they experience hunger and in doing so empathise with the poor.
It is common to have one meal known as the suhoor just before sunrise and an evening meal (iftar) after sunset during Ramadan.
Abstinence from sin, fasting, giving to charity and self-reflection are all intended to help people become better Muslims.
Muslims believe their good actions will bring more reward during this period, as the month is blessed by Allah.
Muslims also believe it is easier to do good during Ramadan, as devils are chained up in Hell.
When is Ramadan 2019?
Ramadan falls on Sunday, May 5 and ends on Tuesday 4 June in 2019 when a New Moon is sighted.
The Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle while the (Christian) Gregorian calendar follows the solar cycle. This is why Ramadan falls at a slightly different time each year
This year, the month of Ramadan is 11 days earlier than in 2018, and it will continue to slip back by this many days every year. In 2020 the month will fall from April 24 to May 23.
This means Ramadan will become progressively easier for practising Muslims, as the time from dawn to sunset is reduced.
These dates are not absolutely official, however, as Ramadan is only declared when a moon-sighting committee in Saudi Arabia records a sighting of the New Moon.
Other important days on the Islamic calendar are as follows:
- Monday, May 6: Start of Ramadan
- Wednesday, June 5: Eid Al-Fitr
- Friday, August 9-Monday August 12: Arafat Day and Eid Al-Adha
- Sunday, September 1: Hijri (Islamic New Year)