Also known as the fifth pillar of Islam, Ramzan, Ramazaan etc. is one of the biggest Islamic festivals of the year. It is a 30 day long fast in the ninth month according to the Islamic calendar. To commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to their prophet Mohammed, the fast is compulsorily observed by all adults except those with illness.
The history behind Ramadan comes from the explanation in the Quran. The month-long fast is supposed to be a guidance, a clarification of the mind in the pursuit for ease in life and closeness to Allah. Charity is observed as well in this time of peace, purity and sharing.
The only time Muslims can eat while observing this fast is before dawn (known as Suhur) and after sunset (known as Iftar).
Ramadan is never on a fixed schedule or date every year. It is based on the lunar calendar wherein all Muslims search for the ‘Night of Power’ or Laylat Al-Qadr during the last 10 days of Ramadan.
The Islamic population in the world is close to 2 billion which is almost 24 – 25% percent of the overall population thus making it one of the most widely celebrated periods in the world.
Muslims migrated to Australia as early as the 1860’s and a steep increase was seen post the 1960’s.
Jumping to the continent of Australia, the overall population is about 20 million in which Muslims constitute about 2% or close to 4 Hundred Thousand. Though the percentage might be small and Muslims are a minority in Australia, the number Four Hundred Thousand gives rise to a great celebration of Ramadan.
In Australia as most countries, the month-long festival is celebrated with fasting and prayer. But, the last day also known as Eid Al-Fitr (feast of fast breaking) is celebrated for as long as 3 days with pomp and splendour. Muslims adorn themselves with festive clothes, meet and greet dear ones and friends all through the day and feast on signature dishes such as Biryani, Sheer Khurma, Maal Puha etc.
This year Ramadan should start around June first week and Eid Al Fitr should be around July 7th.
Even though Ramadan is a serious festival, every day throughout the one month, the breaking of the fast is almost like a mini feast. At times during this, food might be a bit more expensive but, for something as big this, that might be a small price to pay.
The fast depends on the length of the day as eating is not allowed as long as the sun is up. So, just to leave you with a thought of how difficult it might be to keep such a rigorous practice of fasting:
Reykjavik, Iceland, the fast is 21 hours and 57 minutes long.
But, Australia has the shortest fasting duration of only 11 hours and 24 minutes.
So, if you are thinking about keeping the fast for Ramadan this year, Australia might be the best place to do it! With the end day Eid celebration being a great moment every year, we will keep you updated about the best food, places in Australia for festivities and titbits of information. Keep watching this space! See you soon.