Ramadan: Sharing traditions from around the world

Getting Around By Stefan Zechner May 24, 2017

If you’re new to Canada, you may not be familiar with the multitude of cultures that the country welcomes, but inclusion and acceptance of others and their religions is part of being Canadian.

For example, there are over 1 million Muslims living in Canada, making up about 3.2 percent of the population.[1] Muslim holidays including Ramadan and Eid are celebrated across the country and in many cities and towns, Muslim families celebrate not only with family, but also with non-Muslim friends and community members.

If you’re unfamiliar with Ramadan, it’s easy to learn more by getting involved in your community and being open to new experiences. To start, brush up on some of the basics about the holiday…

Ramadan includes fasting and prayer

Ramadan, which runs from May 26 to June 24 this year, marks the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, when Muslims around the world fast from dawn to sundown, pray and give to charity.

Muslim families will have a pre-dawn meal and then fast until the sun goes down, when they enjoy another meal together. This happens every day of Ramadan for adults, who see it as a way of focusing on their spiritual lives and less on the needs of the body. Experiencing hunger during this time also helps Muslims understand the plight of the poor more acutely, and is one reason why they give more donations to the less fortunate during Ramadan.

Eid al-Fitr: A celebration to end the fast

The last day of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, is a celebration marking the end of the fast with food, lights, and spending time with family and friends.

Gift giving is another Eid al-Fitr tradition, particularly for children. Kids receive clothes, toys, money, hand-made cards and presents, and families often decorate their homes with lights, lanterns, crescent moons and stars. Traditional meals can include everything from breads, fava beans and lentils to beef, chicken and lamb stews, topped off with lots of sweets including stuffed dates, and fruit and nut desserts.

Learn more, get involved!

Canada’s 150 is a great opportunity to get to know the Ramadan traditions of friends and neighbours, especially since the holiday is celebrated differently in dozens of countries around the world. It’s a fantastic way to try new foods, learn new customs, connect with the people in your community and share some of your own traditions, too.

What are your plans for Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr this year? Share your ideas and photos with us on Facebook and Twitter!

[1] Statistics Canada