On the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Muslim devotees prepare for a time of piety. Ramadan is the month when the holy Quran was revealed to mankind. Followers reflect on their actions in accordance with Allah’s words, commemorating him blessing mankind with guidance.
Ramadan begins by looking at the new moon. It is a time for purifying one’s self, apprehending the hardships of the less fortunate and being generous. Fasting (sawm) renews one’s control of all senses and bring devotees closer to Allah.
Fasting begins early morning before the prayer of dawn. A day of abstaining from eating, drinking and sexual activities demands self- control and practice to increase Piety (Taqwa). To empathise with one another, many acts of charity and generosity or Zakatul – Fitr are carried. At sunset, the faithful break fast (Iftar) by first consuming dates and sipping water. Dates, which are rich in minerals and vitamins are followed by dishes such as Kanjee (a type of porridge); a traditional food for Sri Lankan Muslims. Families sit together to eat in solidarity.
Fasting times are different to each country with Sri Lankans fasting for 13 hours, while in Switzerland they fast for nearly 20 hours.
Although some believe it is a celebration, Ramadan is actually a period for sacrifice and reflection. In fact, Muslims additionally pray for peace and harmony in the world.
Ramadan comes to an end after 29 or 30 days with the celebration of Eid ul-Fitr. After Eid prayers friends and families, even non-Muslims, join in celebrations. Dressed in new clothes they prepare a table of savouries and sweets. From samosa to rolls, varieties of sweets, faluda and wattalappam.
Ways of celebration too differs from country to country. Here in Sri Lanka, just as the many other celebrations, Eid comes with a lot of gladness and glamour.