There’s only a few more days until the Holy Month of Ramadan ends and the celebration of Eid-Al-Fitr begins. As world-schoolers (and being half-Lebanese) both Lou Lou and Jaf know quite a bit about Ramadan already, why it is celebrated and its importance to over 1 billion Muslims worldwide. For them, the most fascinating thing about Ramadan is fasting. So we spent sometime this week talking about what fasting is.
From sunset to sundown, practicing Muslims don’t eat or drink anything for a whole month (details of this can be found here). Like any other fast, the purpose is to purify or cleanse your mind and body. It is a time for Muslims all over the world to remember those who are less fortunate. It is also a time of generosity, when donations to the poor and time spent with family and extended family is very important. Children are taught to be kind, gentle and appreciative of all they have and to think about others who have less.
At sunset, (Iftar) it is time to break-the-fast (hence “breakfast”) and everyone will eat something very light to settle the stomach. First thing that is normally taken in is water, then perhaps a few dates and a bowl of soup. Usually after a half-hour or more there’s a larger meal when the families all get together and then lighter meals as the night progresses just before dawn called Sahoor (pre-dawn meal).
I had to explain that children don’t have to fast, but they can if they really want to. There is a certain age where they do begin fasting though. The elderly, the sick, and anyone who has a medical condition also do not have to fast.
After our conversation Lou Lou and Jaf decided they wanted to try fasting for a day to experience what it’s like to go without food, something they often take for granted. They have also committed to writing during the month of Ramadan to their pen pals in India, Congo, Ecuador and Zimbabwe through WorldVision and will be donating their allowance to the NoKidHungry program.
If anything I’m glad they took interest in wanting to know about why people fast during the month of Ramadan and that I had the opportunity to explain it, even with the limited knowledge I do have.
Here’s a good site explaining in more detail the month of Ramadan and Eid; A Typical Day in Ramadan if you’d like to know more about the Holy Month.