The Word Ramadan is also pronounced Ramzan and in many other ways depending on the linguistic influence.
The Arabic influenced languages call it Ramadan, whereas the Persian affiliated languages call it Ramzan, and with the touch of Sanskrit, it is also called Hari Raya. I am pleased to include the various names of Ramadan around the world in the list below. It is like the British and American variations in English.
Please note the simplicity in writing is designed for people of other faiths to learn and to know, so we can relate with each other. If you like to wish a Muslim on this happy occasion, you can say Eid Mubarak, Happy Eid, Eid ki Shubh Kamnaeyien, Best wishes, Ramadan Kareem or Happy Ramadan.
After fasting for 29 or 30 days, and based on the moon sighting, NASA calculations or other traditions, the fasting would come to an end with the celebration. It is one of the three major events for Muslims besides Bakrid and Muharram. Muslims typically gather in a large space and perform their thanksgiving prayer. Doctor Saab, add the link as a Reference previous article
In the Hindu tradition at the end of Navaratri, Dussehra is celebrated on the 10th day; women fast for Karva Chouth, similarly in the Jain tradition; Paryushan and Daslakshan are celebrated after fasting for 7 to 9 days. The Jews observe fasting during Yom Kippur and Christians during lent through Easter Sunday. Fasting is also observed for medical reasons.
Although Ramadan is popularly known in the West for its culinary delicacies and fancy Iftaar (ceremonial breaking of fast at sun down), the spirit and intent of Ramadan lies in a human transformation in a month long inner spiritual journey of finding oneself in tune with spirituality. God has no need for the hunger or thirst of someone who hurts others, violates their dignity or usurps their rights, said Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The fasting of the stomach must be matched by the fasting of the limbs. The eyes, ears, tongue, hands and feet all have their respective fasts to undergo. The tongue’s temptations, for example – lies, backbiting, slander, vulgarity and senseless argumentation – must be challenged and curbed to maintain the integrity of the fast.
Consciousness of behavior and vigilance over action are the most profound dimensions of fasting: the fasting of the heart focuses on the attachment to the divine. That is when Ramadan really becomes a source of peace and solace, just as Christmas goes beyond the rituals to bring forth kindness, charity and caring.
True fasting is self-purification; and from this, a rich inner life that bring about values such as justice, generosity, patience, kindness, forgiveness, mercy and empathy – values that are indispensable for the success of the community.
The purpose of fasting, i.e., abstaining from consuming food, liquids and sensual pleasures during a specified period brings self discipline, self-checking on one’s own integrity and health benefits.
During fasting one is supposed to become honest, caring, just and a kind human being, a majority of people get that right, some don’t. It’s like the class room where the teacher teaches the same book to every student, yet one become the top scorer and one fails, while most of them pass at varying grades. Fasting is no different.
Piety (Taqwa) is all about- getting closer to God, or becoming God-like. What is God like? It is to be free from prejudice and to be just, fair, safe and secure.
So what do Muslims do on the day of Eid?
From the moment we are born to the last rites of our life and every moment in-between is loaded with rituals, though some of us may deny it. Whether we go to the gym, eat our food; go to sleep, wear clothes, drive some place, in our intimate moments, or picking that phone up, we follow rituals or a system.
Discipline is necessary to do things on time, managing personal relationships, driving to a destination or keeping within budget to achieve the goals; the result is worth the discipline to most people. When joyous, whether we are a theist or not, we have to express that sentiment, otherwise a sense of incompleteness lingers in our hearts.
- Chand Raat is the evening when moon is sighted; everyone gets out and goes shopping for a variety of things to wear the next day. It is really the first day out from 29 days of fasting and everyone looks forward to it.
- Mehendi (henna) is applied to female hands over night – these traditions vary from region to region and nation to nation.
- Most Muslims wear new clothes signifying a new beginning and that tradition is prevalent in almost every faith.
- Zakat is due; it is tithe, like tax, and it is approximately 2.5% of your wealth that you share with your less fortunate fellow beings. It is a way to reduce your guilt that you are blessed with resources while some are not, and also to ensure the society you are not a hoarder.
- On the morning, usually around 8 AM -Muslims gather up near a Mosque and walk to a central place to pray together.
- It’s a short prayer with a sermon before and after the Namaz. We need an improvement in this area; most of the Sermons are boring and irrelevant.
- In the United States, if the Mosque is big enough, they all gather up at the Mosque, or rent a large hall for the congregation.
- In many nations people gather up near the cemetery to pray. We did that in my town Yelahanka, a suburb of Bangalore.
- Invariably, Muslim throughout the world visits a cemetery to honor their dead. However, the long held tradition is losing its tractions as we become more and more mobile. Memorial Day -http://centerforpluralism.com/memorial-day-and-muslims/
- Almost all Muslims hug each other, it is time to put aside the differences and reconnect with each other, they hug three times, each time signifying, I seek your forgiveness and lastly both seek friendship.
- On the day of Eid, Muslims cook the best of their foods. Usually it is an open house to friends and family members; no one eats full meal anyplace, but eats a little at each home they visit.
- Dessert made out of Vermicelli is the most common item across the world, most of the Desi’s be it Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans enjoy Sheer Khurma -Vermicelli’s in liquid form with cashew, dried grapes, pistachio and their likes. I like the thin version that I can pour in a cup of tea and drink.
- As it happens on Ugadi, Baisakhi, Dussehra, Christmas and Thanksgiving, people eat more that they can consume on that day and complain that they should not have had that much food, including this writer.
Everything you had always wanted to know about Ramadan is finally here at this website. www.RamadanNews.com. It has got everything about Ramadan – from how it is celebrated around the world (including Mayans) to what the world leaders say to fantastic TV commercials about Ramadan – The essence, politics, rituals and traditions of Ramadan and more. Plus the most read articles and the current articles about Ramadan.
“Festivals of the World” is an educational series by Mike Ghouse since 1993 with a belief that, when we live as neighbors, we might as well learn about each other. The best way to build cohesive societies is for its members to understand each other’s sorrows and joys, and festivities and commemorations. We are updating the website www.CenterforPluralism.com , until such time, you can Google the name of Festival with my name and hopefully you will have some information about most festivals of the world.
(The author is President of the Center for Pluralism, a think tank that offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day, be it religious, political, social, cultural or racial. He is a motivational speaker on Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam, politics, terrorism, human rights and foreign policy. A community consultant, pluralist, social scientist, thinker, writer, activist, news maker and an Interfaith Wedding Officiant. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Please visit www.CenterforPluralism.com and www.MikeGhouse.net)