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Religious Holiday: Ramadan


This month-long fast is done to commemorate what, according to Muslims, was the first Quranic revelation to Muhammad, and its observance is one of the Five Pillars of Islam- a list of the great deeds every Muslim ought do in his life to secure salvation.

The month of Ramadan lasts 29 or 30 days, depending on the year, and its beginning date is based on local moon sightings, making it always somewhat uncertain when it will begin. During Ramadan, Muslims are not allowed to eat, drink, smoke, or have sexual relations from sunrise to sunset. Muslims are supposed to focus on Allah, read their Korans, and give to the poor more than usual during this month as well. Some are exempt, however, from “the rules,” including young children, pregnant women, seniors, and those with serious health conditions. An athlete in intense training can also be exempted, but he would be expected to fast later to make up for missing Ramadan.

The “Iftar” is the time of breaking the fast, and it occurs right after the evening call to prayer. Since people fast all day, family and friends eat late-night meals during Ramadan. 

During the final 10 days of Ramadan, prayer exercises intensify, and many spend all the night in prayer. Finally, at the very end of the month, a large festival called “Eid El Fitr” occurs. Businesses typically let their employees of between one and four days at this time to attend the festival and to recover from the long fast. (Source: