Why Do People Celebrate Ramadan?

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Muslims celebrate Ramadan to purify their souls, fine-tune their relationship with God and observe self-sacrifice. Ramadan commemorates the night of power during which God revealed the Koran to the prophet Muhammad.

Ramadan takes place on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, from one new moon to the next. It is an opportunity to practice self-restraint, one of the five pillars of Islam. During the day, devout Muslims abstain not only from food, but also from any form of drink, sexual behavior and immorality in thought or deed. At sunset, after prayer, Muslims break their fast. Their night-time banquets are festive occasions shared with family, relatives and friends. Typically, the meals begin with fruit and water or sweet milk, and continue with meat, bread and vegetables. Often the fellowship and feasting lasts until the early morning. At the first light of dawn, fasting begins again. As a result, in some Muslim countries and communities, people work less hours during the month of Ramadan.

If some people inadvertently or intentionally break the fast, or are required to eat during the day due to illness or travel, they can make up fasting days after Ramadan. Others substitute charitable work for fasting. Children, old people, and pregnant and nursing women are exempt from fasting.