1. Ramadan falls on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar
The Islamic calendar is based on the lunar calendar, rather than the Gregorian calendar. The lunar calendar has 12 months. Ramadan is considered the most sacred month of the year.
2. As the Islamic calendar is determined by the moon, around every decade the month moves from the summer to winter
Fort the past few years, Ramadan has been observed during summer. As such, the hours of fasting are longer than usual, particularly in the northern hemisphere.
3. Ramadan is a period of fasting for Muslims around the world
Fasting begins from sunrise and ends at sunset. However, fasting is not expected to be practised by menstruating or pregnant women, children, the sick and the elderly.
Fasting is considered one of the five pillars of Islam. The other four include the testimony of faith, prayer, giving charity to the needy and the pilgrimage to Makkah.
4. The first verses of the Holy Quran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad during the last ten days of Ramadan
Laylat al Qadr is the name given to the night in which the Quran was revealed.
Many Muslims recite the entire Quran by the end of Ramadan by attending special night prayers known as Tarawih. These are held every night of the month in mosques.
5. Apart from fasting, Ramadan is meant to be emphasized by prayers, charity and self accountability
Every Muslim will hold a different value or emphasis on what Ramadan means to them ranging from strengthening their health, character, faith and compassion.
Many Muslim charities, organisations and individuals organise charitable events or large offerings of food and clothing around the world.
6. There is a great deal of cultural diversity in the way Muslims observe Ramadan
Differences can be observed in cuisine, festivities, daily work hours and mundane activities.