Ramadan: What, Why, When?

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Today, May 16, is the first day of Ramadan for many Muslims around the globe.

This year, Ramadan is taking place during the summer, making the day of fasting longer for practicing Muslims. Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, meaning when Ramadan is in the winter it is a lot easier due to shorter days and longer nights.

The timing of Ramadan changes every year because the Muslim holy month follows a lunar calendar.

Ramadan is a month of spiritual cleansing. Muslims use the holy month as a fresh start and a time to focus on meditation and good deeds. Fasting also helps put things in perspective; its purpose is to make practicing Muslims experience what the less fortunate feel, to improve them as people.

There are 2.2 billion Muslims in the world and a majority engage in Ramadan festivities. It’s followed by one of the only two holidays in Islam, Eid Al-Fitr – the Muslim festival that marks the end of the fast of Ramadan.

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