Ramadan 2024: What it is, when it begins, how it's observed and more

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It’s a holy time filled with worship for the 1.8 billion Muslims around the world.

One focal point of the month is the strict fast that Muslims participate in through Ramadan. The fast prohibits eating and drinking during daylight hours, for those who observe.

Below is more information about Ramadan and how it’s observed each year.


Ramadan is a time of extensive praying for Muslims. (Karrar Essa/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

What is Ramadan?Can you eat or drink during Ramadan?What are Ramadan’s fasting rules?What is the importance of Ramadan?Who participates in Ramadan?How do Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan?

1. What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is a holy month that Muslims observe around the world. The monthlong event, which includes heavy fasting and prayer, ends with Eid al-Fitr, an Islamic festival.

There are many rules that Muslims follow during Ramadan, including when to fast.

“Green Ramadan” is practiced by Muslims around the world who hope to reduce waste and contribute more to environmental friendliness. In order to practice sustainability, Muslim people carpool, eat less meat, volunteer, plant native plants, spend more time outside and more.

2. Can you eat or drink during Ramadan?

Muslims celebrating Ramadan cannot eat or drink anything, including water, during the daylight hours for the entire month. Fasting is an act of worship and has been practiced by Muslims during Ramadan for centuries.

There are some exceptions to this rule. Those who are ill, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and small children are not required to take part in the fast, according to the Associated Press.


Ramadan is a monthlong event, which includes heavy fasting and prayer. (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images)

3. What are Ramadan’s fasting rules?

During Ramadan fasting, those participating do not eat or drink from dusk to dawn during the month.

Prior to their fast, they typically eat what they call “suhoor,” which is a meal eaten before dawn that helps get them through the day of fasting.

In addition to suhoor, there is also a nightly feast, which is known as “iftar.” Often, Muslim people gather together for community iftars. Families are able to take home leftovers. However, they do not eat more until fasting hours have ended.

There are other Ramadan rules that are upheld from sunrise to sunset, including no drinking, smoking or sexual intercourse.

4. What is the importance of Ramadan?

Ramadan is a time that brings Muslims closer to God and reminds them of the less fortunate who are suffering. It is a time heavily revolved around prayer, and they are supposed to observe the five daily prayers during the month.

Fasting is the month is one of Islam’s five pillars. The other pillars are declaration of faith, daily prayer, charity, as well as making the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

Families come together for a nightly feast, called iftar, after fasting all day during Ramadan. (Agency/Universal Images Group via Getty Images))

5. Who participates in Ramadan?

Ramadan is a sacred time for Muslims and has significance in Islam. It was also part of ancient Arabs’ calendars, according to National Geographic. Annually, an estimated 1.8 billion Muslims will partake in Ramadan fasting and celebrations to some degree.

Muslim-majority nations, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates are those who participate in the holy month. In Indonesia, there is the second-largest Islamic group, Muhammadiyah, which counts more than 60 million members.

6. How do Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan?

The end of Ramadan is marked by a day called Eid al-Fitr, which means “festival of breaking the fast.”

One the day, gifts and conversation are exchanged between family and friends, feasts are had, and prayer services are conducted.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.

Ashlyn Messier is a writer for Fox News Digital. 

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