Ramadan is one of the holiest months in the Islamic calendar, and is a period of fasting, extra prayer and charitable deeds.

Ramadan takes place in the ninth month in the Islamic calendar.  This is because that’s when the holy book that’s followed by Muslims, called the Qur’an, was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.  However, the date of Ramadan changes each year.  Ramadan lasts for one complete moon cycle, which is usually 29 or 30 days.

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims will fast from dawn to sunset – breaking the fast with two meals.  The first meal (the suhoor) is taken in the early hours of the morning before the sun rises and the second (iftar) is taken late at night as the sun sets.  Families and friends often gather together for iftar.

Fasting during Ramadan includes abstaining from both food and drink, as well as smoking.  It is seen as important because it allows Muslims to devote themselves to their faith and come closer to Allah, or God.  However, some people are allowed not to fast during Ramadan – children, pregnant women, the elderly and those who are ill or who are travelling don’t have to fast.

Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which form the basis of how Muslims live their lives.  The other pillars are faith, prayer, charity and making the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.

As well as fasting, Ramadan is also a time for spiritual reflection, prayer, doing good deeds and spending time with family and friends.  So people will make a special effort to connect with their communities and reach out to people who need help.  Many Muslims also go to the mosque more frequently to pray.

The end of Ramadan is marked by a special three-day festival called Eid al-Fitr – the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast.  In the UK, Eid al-Fitr 2019 starts on the evening of Tuesday 04 June

Mary Vickers moved to North East Lincolnshire in 2010, from the Wiltshire/Hampshire border, to become Urban and Industrial Chaplain NELincs. Made redundant in 2017, she's maintained many of her connections within the business, faith, and other local communities. She's also decided to stay here rather than return to either the south or her husband's native Yorkshire, so that she can continue to enjoy and help promote the positives of NELincs.

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