This year’s Ramadan has been a bit different, as the coronavirus outbreak has meant staying at home as much as possible, and not being allowed into the houses of your friends and loved ones. It has also seen places of worship across the country closing down to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Fasting is one of the five key pillars of the Islamic faith.
The others are faith, prayer, charity, and making the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime.
Unfortunately, the holy pilgrimage has also been disrupted due to coronavirus.
Usually, thousands of Muslims would gather at the end of July.
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Visiting Mecca is called performing Hajj, and those who have completed a pilgrimage are called Hajji’s.
What is Eid al Fitr? When does Ramadan end?
At the end of Ramadan, there is a special three-day festival called Eid al-Fitr – the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast.
Eid al Fitr begins when the first sight of the new Moon is seen in the sky.
This year Ramadan will end on May 23, after starting on April 23.
Children are often given presents or new clothes and thanks is given to Allah.
The celebration of Eid is a public holiday in many Islamic countries, but is not one in the UK, despite a campaign for it to be recognised as one back in 2014.
Eid means “celebration” and Mubarak means “blessed”, often Eid Mubarak is used as a greeting over this period.
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What is Ramadan for?
Ramadan is an annual event in the Islamic calendar.
During this time, Muslims devote themselves to their faith and become closer to Allah, and to do this, they fast during daylight hours.
Fasting is seen as a way of purifying ourselves spiritually and physically.
But fasting is also used to remind Muslims there are others who are less fortunate than themselves who may not get to eat at all.
All Muslims who are mature and healthy enough to do so are required to fast.
This does not include pregnant women, the sick or elderly.
Fasting involves abstaining from all food, drink, smoking and having sex from sunrise to sunset.
The fasting rules are strict, so you cannot even drink water during fasting hours.
Anyone who is fasting is recommended to drink as much water as possible in the early morning to ward off thirst during the day.
It is common to have a meal, known as suhoor, just before dawn and another, known as iftar, after sunset.
Families and friends will often get together for iftar to break their fast after sunset each day.
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