Ramadan – is a month of ardent prayers, fasting from dawn-to-dusk and night feasts. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars (fundamental religious duties) of Islam. It is a time of self-examination and increased religious devotion. It is intended to bring the devotee closer to god. The first verses of Koran (Qu’ran) were revealed to Prophet Muhammad during the last third of Ramadan, which makes it an incredibly holy period.
Fasting is seen as a medium to physically and spiritually detoxify, by controlling the impulse to drink, smoke and indulge in midday snacks. Devotees are also expected to avoid any kind of unkind and impure thoughts and words and immoral behaviour. Many Muslims also donate to charities during this month and feed the poor.
To prepare for the fast, Muslims eat a pre-dawn meal called ‘suhoor’, to get them through the day. Each day’s fast is broken at the end of the day by feasting on a meal known as ‘iftar’. The month of Ramadan is also a time to feast on fresh street food. In many Arab countries, juices made from apricot are a staple at iftars. In South Asia and Turkey, drinks with a yoghurt base are very popular.
In a lot of Muslim countries, mosques and many charitable organizations set up tents for the public to eat free iftar meals every night of Ramadan. Children, elderly, sick, pregnant and people who are travelling may be exempt from fasting in this month. The end of Ramadan is celebrated by a three-day holiday which is called Eid-ul-Fitr and children receive new clothes, gifts and cash as a mark of celebration.