Ramadan is a time of tranquility and reflection, a time to slow down and connect with friends and family.
It’s the Holy Month in the Islamic Calendar, when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset for approximately 30 days and doing so is one of the five pillars of Islam. There are 7 billion people in the world. And a full 22% of them — 1.6 billion — are fasting from sunup to sundown every day for an entire month. (source: CNN)
You can wish those observing Ramadan with a simple ‘Ramadan Mubarak’ or ‘Ramadan Kareem’.
What is Iftar and Suhour?
Iftar is the meal to break the fast after sunset. Typically, people will enjoy dates, dried apricots and Ramadan juices, before heading to evening prayer. After that, large meals are the norm. It’s one of the best times to spend with the ones you love, and it’s very common for families to open their doors and host other relatives and friends. If you have been invited to someone’s house for Iftar, carry a gift of fresh dates and nuts to thank them for their hospitality.
For Muslims post Iftar, it’s essential to keep hydrated from the lack of water during the day and the best way to do this is also by consuming fresh juices and fruits.
Suhour is a meal taken just before sunrise, before the day of fasting starts.
Because it’s the only meal you will be having for a minimum of 14 hours, Suhour should be heavy. Make sure to eat healthy items though over greasy, oily food. This will ensure you aren’t feeling bloated and thirsty through the rest of the day.
What is the etiquette with regard to eating and drinking if you’re not fasting?
During Ramadan, drinking and eating in public is considered offensive and can even attract a fine or a reprimand from the police. If an individual wants to eat or drink in daylight hours during Ramadan it has to be done indoors and out of sight or in designated screened-off areas within public places.
If you are seated beside a Muslim at your work place, out of respect you can eat your food in another enclosed area. More often than none, it’s not the eating that will bother the person keeping the fast, its more the smell of it that can potentially disturb them. Most Muslims, over time, learn the art of self-discipline during Ramadan and are not easily distracted by someone eating or the sight of food.