Guide: What is Ramadan?

  • 7 June 2016
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What is Ramadan? We asked families to tell us what it means to them.

During the month of Ramadan Muslims fast from dawn until sunset - that means eating nothing while it is daylight.

Children, pregnant women, the sick, the elderly and travellers don't have to fast.

The Qur'an, the holy book followed by Muslims, was first revealed during the month of Ramadan.

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Children tell us about their faith

Summer 2016

This summer Muslims in the UK are facing the "longest" Ramadan in 33 years, as the holy month coincides with the summer solstice, meaning long days of fasting.

At this time of year daylight can last about 16 to 19 hours, depending on your UK location.

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Image caption Food being served up for Iftar, the name of the evening meal Muslims eat to break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan


The month of Ramadan is a time for spiritual reflection, prayer, doing good deeds and spending time with family and friends.

At the end of the fast, special meals are served and families and friends get together to break the fast. Many Muslims also go to the mosque to pray.


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Image caption Iftar being served at a mosque

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Because Islam uses the lunar calendar (based on the cycles of the moon), the month of Ramadan comes around 11 days earlier each year, so it isn't a fixed date in the Western/solar calendar.


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Image caption Young Muslim girls show their hands decorated with henna after attending prayers on Eid Al-Fitr

The festival to celebrate the end of Ramadan, and fasting, is called Eid al-Fitr.

Often children are given presents and new clothes.

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