Ramadan – it’s not actually a month of suffering, it’s a month of celebration and community for most of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims. It is a time to spend with loved ones in deep contemplation of one’s relationship with God – extra prayer, and increased charity and generosity mark the month when the faithful try to be the kindest, best people they can be.
Fasting is incorporated into the daily rhythm of family, work schedules, and responsibilities during the month of Ramadan. No food or water is taken from sunrise to sunset, and then family and friends break the fast by sharing the evening meal. Children, pregnant and nursing women, travellers, the elderly and the ill, are all excused from fasting.
You may encounter someone in the community who is celebrating Ramadan – a neighbour, the barista making your latte, a shopkeeper, your child’s teacher – you could try a “Happy Ramadan!” or standard Ramadan greeting: “Ramadan kareem” (“have a generous Ramadan”) or “Ramadan mubarak” (“have a blessed Ramadan”).