From our reading, and talking with friends - Ramadan "a month of blessing" begins at sundown - the 9th month of the lunar calendar of the new moon. This month is considered Islam's most holy month - where Muslims commemorate the revelation of their holy Qur'an (570-632AD), set aside to devote themselves to Allah thru prayer, fasting and acts of charity. This year - Ramadan begins on September 12th at sundown, and ends on October 13th with a celebratory festival called Eid al-Fitr - a "festival to break the fast." Because Islamic holidays are based on a lunar calendar - they will change each year (by about 11 days).
According to Sharia law, all physically fit Muslims must practice this fast (Sawm) from food, water & other sensual pleasures during daylight hours. Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. Those exempt from the fast are: soldiers, the physically or mentally challenged, pregnant/nursing mothers, women who are menstruating, children under 12, and those traveling more than 50 miles. As well, everyone is encouraged to morally abstain from lying, malicious gossip, quarreling & trivial nonsense.
We are going to interview some friends to see what types of customs they adhere to, and what they might believe to be true about this holy month. We think it will be very interesting!! More info to come.....stay tuned!