Ramadan is the ninth month of the islamic calendar, the month in which the Quran was revealed to the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. It is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting (sawm) . Fasting during the month of Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam (Belief, Worship, Fasting, Alms, or charity, Giving, and Pilgrimage).
The month is spent by Muslims fasting during the daylight hours from dawn to sunset. To fast, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and engaging in sexual activity from dawn to sunset. Muslims follow the lunar calendar, which means Ramadan arrives several days earlier each year. Hilal (the crescent) coincides with the astronomical new moon. Since the new moon marks the beginning of the new month, Muslims can usually safely estimate the beginning of Ramadan, but geographical differences can change when Ramadan begins.
Millions of Muslims around the world will likely mark the start of Ramadan on Sunday 5th May 2019. beginning a month of intense prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting and nightly feasts.
Muslims traditionally break their fast like the Prophet Mohammed did some 1,400 years ago, with a sip of water and some dates at sunset. That first sip of water is by far the most anticipated moment of the day.
After a sunset prayer, a large feast known as "iftar" is shared with family and friends. Iftar is a social event as much as it is a gastronomical adventure. Across the Arab world, juices made from apricots are a staple at Ramadan iftars. In South Asia and Turkey, yogurt-based drinks are popular.
Across the Muslim world, mosques and aid organisations set up tents and tables for the public to eat free iftar meals every night of Ramadan.
The end of Ramadan is marked by intense worship as Muslims seek to have their prayers answered during "Laylat al-Qadr" or "the Night of Destiny." It is on this night, which falls during the last 10 nights of Ramadan, that Muslims believe that God sent the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Mohammed and revealed the first versus of the Quran.
Some devout Muslims go into reclusion those final days, spending all of their time in the mosque.
The end of Ramadan is celebrated by a three-day holiday called Eid al-Fitr. Children often receive new clothes, gifts and cash.
Muslims attend early morning Eid prayers the day after Ramadan. Families usually spend the day at parks and eating — now during the day.