Ramadan Mubarak: A First Day of Ramadan Reflection
Today is the first day of Ramadan. If you are observing this holy month for people who practice Islam, Ramadan Mubarak! If you have no idea what I'm talking about--this article may be for you.
"Ramadan begins during the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar when the new crescent moon is first sighted. The exact start date of Ramadan is confirmed when the moon is spotted by a sighting committee, often made up of government officials and religious scholars."
-Kamakshi Ayyar, Your Complete Guide to Ramadan, Including the Proper Greeting and When It Starts
Saeed Ahmed wrote this brilliant piece for CNN (New York) called A Ramadan etiquette guide for non-Muslims that shares 10 great tips one can use to earn "cool points" with one's Muslim friends or co-workers whilst sharing space over the course of the next 30 days.
For extra cool points, learn how to say Ramadan Mubarak here:
As part of my research for this piece, I read this article in Time that started like this:
"A billion Muslims around the world are celebrating Ramadan."
I knew this, of course. But for whatever reason, reading this line on the same day that I begin my own (unrelated) 40-day fast-- it's resonating differently. A BILLION people around the world are agreeing to do the same thing at the same time for the next 30 DAYS. Do you have any idea how big of a number a BILLION is? For context, a billion is 158x the height of Mt Everest. A Billion seconds is 31.71 YEARS. My point is a billion people agreeing to celebrate a moment in time is significant. A billion people agreeing to celebrate unlimited moments over the course of 30 days is incredible. Miraculous, even.
"Ramadan is observed by Muslims to commemorate when God revealed the first chapters of the Quran, Islam’s sacred text, to the Prophet Muhammad...
Muslims mark the holy month by fasting—considered to be one of the five pillars of Islam—during sunlight hours. The pre-dawn meal is called the suhoor, while the fast is broken at dusk with the iftar, traditionally starting with a few sips of water and some dates."
I'm not Muslim. And yet, this is my eighth year fasting for 40 days around the time of Ramadan. I've found fasting during this time feels extra nourishing, supported, and dare I say, spiritual. We'll suppose, maybe... it's because of the BILLION fellow humans fasting too. Ramadan Kareem!
If you'd like to learn more about my 40-day fast, click here.