....... Divertimento: Ramadan Mubarak

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Ramadan Mubarak

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. This year it happens to coincide with the month of August. Worldwide, there are about 1.5 billion Muslims. To most non-Muslims, Ramadan means a whole month of rigorous fasting. Looking at this year’s schedule on the Islamic Union of Hong Kong website, fasting starts before 5 am and lasts till about 7 pm each day for a whole month. Fasting fosters empathy for less fortunate people and encourages generosity. However, Ramadan is not just about fasting but also a time for contemplation, prayer, the giving of alms and self-discipline.

Each day, fasting ends in a celebratory breaking-of-fast meal which is a time of fellowship with family, friends and the community.

Ramadan ends in a celebration, the Eid ul-Fitr (Aidil Fitri, in Malaysia), the exact day of which depends on the sighting of the moon – so Ramadan could either be 29 or 30 days.

In Hong Kong, Eid ul-Fitr is not a public holiday nor is it widely celebrated by the general community. According to the US Department of State (2009) there are 250,000 Muslims in Hong Kong.

To my fellow Hong Kongers who are Muslims, Ramadan Mubarak! And to my friends in Malaysia, Selamat Hari Raya!

For those of you who wish to send Ramadan greetings to your Muslim friends, click here.

No comments: