At The Little Market, we are proud to celebrate cultural diversity. Our community of supporters, including customers, readers, our team, and the artisans we work with, are from all over the world. We value inclusivity, and we currently work with more than 60 artisan groups in 28 countries. On this blog, Cultural Exchange, we love to explore different cultural traditions and holidays recognized across the globe. Today, we focus on Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which is a lunar calendar based on the moon’s phases. The dates of Ramadan change every year; in 2018, Ramadan is observed from May 15 to June 14. Based on Islamic tradition, it is believed that, in this month, the prophet Mohammed received the first revelations of the holy book of Islam, the Qurʾān. During this month of heightened spirituality, Muslims aim to strengthen their relationship with God, often through spiritual discipline, self-reflection, and increased charity.
Ramadan practices may vary depending on the region and individual preferences, but it is commonly a month of fasting. Fasting, or Siyam, during the holy month of Ramadan represents one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Observers will not eat or drink (including water) from dawn until dusk, an act that creates empathy for people experiencing food and water insecurity. Once the sunset prayer is practiced, friends and family come together to break the fast, known as iftar, often starting with date fruits and water followed by a meal. Additional prayers are held and the holy Qurʾān is recited. Some people such as pregnant, sick, and older individuals are not required to fast. Exceptions are also made for individuals who are traveling or menstruating.
One of the primary Muslim holidays, Eid al-Fitr, marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan and lasts for a period of three days. Many Muslims gather for a communal prayer at daybreak on the first day of Eid. After the prayer, there are official receptions, presents are exchanged, meals are shared, and friends and family celebrate together.
To those observing Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr: Ramadan Mubarak and Eid Mubarak!