Since May 6th, I’ve been observing Ramadan, the Islamic month of giving, festivities, and…fasting. During this month in the lunar calendar, Muslims give up food and drink (including water!) from dawn to sunset, to focus on personal and spiritual growth. Although this may sound difficult, Ramadan is also the occasion to spend time with one’s community and loved ones, and break fasts together at sunset. The month comes to an end with the celebration of Eid ul Fitr, one of the two major Muslim holidays.
As we’re now halfway through Ramadan, I thought this week’s Throwback Thursday would be the perfect time to mark the occasion. In addition to finding some articles in our Classroom Magazines, I came upon the Fiesta! series, which highlights festivals in different countries. For a moment, I even forgot about my food cravings from fasting as I worked on gathering a stack of Fiesta! books for this post. I was quickly brought back to reality when I read through these books, all of which mention the delicious food traditions of Ramadan. My food-related woes aside, I enjoyed looking at how different cultures celebrate this holiday.
(Click on each image below for a hi-res version.)
“Holidays and Festivals Around the World,” Junior Scholastic, December 8, 1995
Ramadan is a holy month to Muslims, followers of the religion of Islam.
Fiesta! India, Grolier Educational, 1997
The month of fasting begins on seeing the new moon and ends on seeing the next new moon. Fireworks are set off to show that Eid has arrived.
Fiesta! Turkey, Grolier Educational, 1997
The Ottoman Empire celebrated certain festive days in grand style. Modern Turkey retains some of these old ways.
“’Tis the season for holidays and celebrations worldwide,” Scholastic News, November 23, 1998
When the 30 days [of Ramadan] are over, Muslims celebrate by decorating their homes with lights and candles. Children often receive gifts, money, and sweets.
Fiesta! Egypt, Grolier Educational, 1999
When the sun sets, the feasting begins…At night, after iftar, people walk in the streets. Children are allowed to stay up late during Ramadan.
Fiesta! Lebanon, Grolier Educational, 1999
As the month of Ramadan comes to an end, everybody gets very excited. Each family gives a little of its money to the poor in a donation called the zakat, and pretty greeting cards are posted to friends.
Fiesta! Pakistan, Grolier Educational, 1999
Muslims prove their faith by fasting during the month of Ramadan. The end of the fast is celebrated with Eid-ul-Fitr, a joyous festival of food and presents.
Special thanks to Gina Asprocolas and the Scholastic librarians for their help with this series!