Many of the refugees that we interact with regularly are Muslims. For those friends, a very important month has just begun – Ramadan! Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims centered around fasting, charitable giving, self-reflection and prayer. For those 29 or 30 days (depending on the lunar calendar), Muslims fast from all food and drink (yes, even water) from dawn to dusk, and break the fast each night in community with a feast called iftar. During the month, Muslims give generously to charity as well. At the end of Ramadan is a festival called Eid. During Eid, Muslims decorate their homes, wear new clothes, give gifts to children, and, of course, feast!
A couple of things to remember if your friends are celebrating Ramadan this month:
- Not everyone fasts during Ramadan. Children are not required to fast, and neither are pregnant or menstruating women, those who are traveling, or individuals who are sick.
- You don’t have to be Muslim to wish your friends “Ramadan Muburak!” or “Happy Ramadan!” much like we wish each other “Merry Christmas!” during the holidays. Acknowledging a time that is important in their culture is a great way to show you care!
- You won’t want to invite your friend to lunch during Ramadan, but if they invite you to join their iftar feast, go for it! You could fast for the day to understand the anticipation of iftar, or you can just show up and enjoy the celebration and delicious food!