For Muslim community members, Ramadan marks a holy month of community, prayer, fasting, and nightly feasts. The Islamic calendar follows the lunar cycle of 364 or 365 days per year, so Ramadan begins in the ninth month of the calendar on a different day each year. In 2023, Ramadan is expected to begin at dusk on March 22 and continue until dusk on April 20, from one sighting of the crescent moon to the next. The festivities of Eid al-Fitr will begin at the conclusion of Ramadan.
The five pillars of Islam include the Muslim declaration of faith, daily prayer, fasting, charity, and performing the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Fasting (sawm) is a major component of Ramadan, with observers abstaining from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk. Fasting is meant to bring observers closer to Allah (God) and to reflect on the struggles of those less fortunate. Focusing on one’s inner self and detaching from worldly pleasures is crucial for fasting during Ramadan.