by Mehar Ahmad, President, Australian MEFF Consortium Get the 2013 Ramadan Calendar Here
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. It is a period of fasting, prayer, charity-giving and training for self-control for Muslims.
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It is a time of self-examination and increased religious devotion. Muslims fast during the daylight hours in the month of Ramadan with increased devotion in daily prayers as well as special night time prayers known as Taraveeh. Increased recitation and understanding of Quran, the Muslim holy book is also highly encouraged during Ramadan.
Fasting or Saum consists of having a pre-fast meal (suhoor) before sunrise and an evening meal (iftar) after sunset every day of Ramadan and avoid all food and drink throughout the day. Some people including children, the chronically ill, mentally challenged, and the elderly who cannot participate due to health reasons, are exempt from fasting.
Throughout Ramadan, Iftar parties are held where family, friends and neighbours are invited to join together for the evening meal. Special cultural dishes are cooked during Ramadan and Mosques and Islamic Centres offer free evening meals to the needy, students, homeless and travellers.
The month of Ramadan traditionally begins with a new moon sighting, marking the start of the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. Ramadan ends when the first crescent of the new moon is sighted again, marking the tenth lunar month’s start called Shawwaal. The first day after Ramadan is celebrated as the feast of breaking the fast or Eid-al-Fitr, marked by dining new clothes, morning prayers and visiting family and friends together with sharing of specially cooked meals throughout the day.
Ramadan this year will start on Wednesday 10 July and end on Wednesday 7 August with Eid celebrations on Thursday 8 August. A grand festival to mark the end of Ramadan, Multicultural Eid Festival and Fair (MEFF) will be held on Sunday 18 August 2013 at the Fairfield showground.
MEFF is the first, largest and longest running Eid Festival in Australia being held at Fairfield Showground for the last 29 years that attacks up to 25,000 people. Its a celebration of multiculturalism for all Australians of diverse background in an atmosphere of peace, unity and harmony. There will be market and food stalls, stage shows, sports, rides, fireworks and lots of entertainment. All Welcome.