What are the main Muslim Festivals?
Ramadan (Ramadhan) Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and a time when Muslims across the world will fast (do not eat) during the hours of daylight.
The Muslim year is a lunar (moon) year, so Ramadan moves forward by ten or eleven days each year. The day Ramadan begins is decided by the sighting of the new moon.
Muslims believe that the gates of Heaven (Jannah) are open and the gates of Hell (Jahanam) are locked for the duration of Ramadan. During Ramadan, Muslims celebrate the time when the verses of the Qur’an were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Ramadan is a time of worship and contemplation. A time to strengthen family and community ties.
Every Muslim is expected to fast from sunrise to sunset. Muslims must not eat or drink during daylight hours. During Ramadan Muslims get up early before dawn (Fajr) and have a light meal. This time is known as Suhoor.
At the end of each day (Maghrib), Muslims traditionally break their fast with a meal called the iftar. Following the custom of Prophet Muhammad, the fast is often broken with dates, then followed by a prayer and dinner.
Ramadan concludes with the celebration of Eid al-Fitr.
Eid-ul-Fitr (Id-ul-Fitr)- The festival for the first day after Ramadan. Eid-ul-Fitr marks the breaking of the fast for Muslims at the end of Ramadan. Lasting three days, it is a time for family and friends to get together, for celebrating with good food and presents for children, and giving to charity.
Eid-ul-Adha – The Festival of Sacrifice which occurs 70 days after Eid-al-Fitr. Eid ul-Adha is the second most important festival in the Muslim calendar. It is to remember the time when Abraham was going to sacrifice his own son to prove obedience to God and marks the end of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca). It takes place on the 10th day of Dhul-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar.
Dhu Al-Hijja: The month of pilgrimage during which all Muslims, at least once in their life, should try to make the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Al Hijra: The Islamic New Year begins on the day Muhammad left Mecca to travel to Medina.