Ramadan Begins in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar (Hijri). The word has been derived from the term �Ramd�, that means �To Burn�. The occasion of Ramadan is older than the Islamic calendar and it initially fell in the summer. The Muslims celebrate Ramadan for a whole month. Prophet Mohammed told His disciples that during this time the gates of Heaven would be opened and the gates of Hell would be closed. The Muslims keep a long fast throughout the month, and break it with the most celebrated occasion called �Eid ul-Fitr�.
The key factor of �Ramadan� or �Ramzan� is fasting, which is often prescribed as the fourth pillar of Islam. They believe that a long fast would cleanse all their previous sins. However, the Muslims pass the fasting month with a great devotion and start the first day of the next month with pomp and pageantry.
Muslims consider the practice of �fasting� a decree of God. They honor the practice, since they believe, God ordered every able person to fast. But people who have problems with this practice do take little food. The fast starts with the Holy view of the full moon. Through this long fast, the Muslims seek Divine blessings and pray for their prosperous life.
Rituals During Ramadan
There are interesting rituals associated with Ramadan. During this spiritually beneficial year of the Islamic month the Muslims pray, fast and indulge in charitable programs. Since the festival is related to the lunar calendar, it does not rise at the same place globally. Hence, the rituals vary according to the particular lunar sight individual experiences.
- First comes the reference of fasting. Ramadan is the other name of fasting, which in the Islamic terminology is known as �Swam�.
- Eating, Drinking and sexual intercourse are not allowed till the sun sets.
- During Ramadan people it is unfair to indulge in greed, lust, anger, backbiting and jealousy. These vices are against the ethics of Islam.
- During Ramadan people go through the �Koran� and teach their children the ethics and principles of Islam.
- During Ramadan people need to be absolutely pure. They must retain purity both in their thoughts and deeds.
- Maintaining self-discipline, sacrificing for others, helping the under trodden are actions the Muslims must execute during Ramadan.
- During Ramadan special prayers called �Tarawih� are held every night in the mosques.
- The people also commemorate the fact that it was during the Ramadan that Mohammed first revealed the Holy �Koran�.
The Culmination Of Ramadan With Eid Ul-Fitr
The festival of �Eid Ul-Fitr� marks the culmination of the fasting period of Ramadan. The Muslims break their fast by seeing a new moon on the day of �Eid-Ul-Fitr�. Everyone put on new dresses, and distribute new clothes between the poor. The festival continues while people hold communal prayers, feast and visit the friends and relatives.
Thus, Ramadan begins with a grave devotion and sacrifice ending with mirth and celebration.