Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Ramadanfest!
The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Quran; a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, a number of other days. Allah desires for you ease; He desires not hardship for you; and that you should complete the period, and that you should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that perhaps you may be thankful.
Why is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar - ramaḍān - so important for Muslims? It is saint because it is the month of the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad. During ramadan Muslims must fast from dawn till sunset, which means they mustn't eat any kind of food, drink beverages (including alcohol) and engage in sexual relations. Exceptions are for those who: are elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, menstruating, chronically ill, suffer from an illness or travel. Ramadan is fardh (obligatory) for Muslims and in 2017 it started on 26th May and finished on 24th June.
After a month of fasting, Muslims are celebrating Id al-Fitr meaning "feast of breaking of the fast" is also called Sweet Festival. In Germany Id al-Fitr celebration is called Ramadanfest, which was officially accepted by KRM - Koordinationsrat der Muslime in Deutschland. This important religious holiday marks the end of Ramadan and lasts for three days (this year from 25th till 27th of June). Depending on a country there a different dishes served during Id al-Fitr, yet all of them are sweet. For instance; Baklava in Turkey, Ketupat in Indonesia; Sheer Khurma in India; Malaysia, Brunei, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran; and in South Asia - Cham Cham, Barfi, Gulab Jamun and Ras Malai. So how does the celebration of Id al-Fitr look like? There are some general rituals which every Muslim should follow:
- Wake up early (before the sunrise), clean your teeth with a toothbrush, have a shower before Salatul Fajr (the pre-sunrise prayer), put on new clothes or the best ones you have and apply perfume.
- Have a small sweet breakfast - preferably dates (kind of fruit) - before going on foot to have salaat (Eid prayer). Don't forget about Zakat-ul-fitr - an (obligatory) act of charity, give some money to the poor and the needy perfomed shortly before salaat.
- Choose different routes to and from the prayer area.
- Do not fast.
- Greet other Muslims with ‘Eid Mubārak (Blessed Eid) or ‘Eid Sa‘īd (Happy Eid).
- Show happiness, forgive and forget the anger and quarrels.
Photos which can be seen below were taken during Ramadanfest which took place on 29th June 2017 in Münster, Germany. The event was organized by AKI e.V. (Arbeitskreis International e.V.) which is a non-profit and independent organization with a purpose of reducing barriers and improving the coexistence between people of different origins. They support mutual understanding and offer help to migrants to improve their situation. They are also a part of a citywide network Integration für Menschen mit Migrationsgeschichte (Integration for People with Migration History). The event itself was combined with Frauenfrühstücke (breakfast for women) which takes place once a month on Thursdays. Tasty food, amazing Turkish Tea and live band. One of the participants of Ramadanfest, Seval Kocaman from Bürgerhaus Bennohaus, answered why she attended the celebration organised by AKI e.V.:
"After four weeks of fasting we want to spend time together - to talk, to dance, to celebrate". Having good time together, supporting each other, respecting and interacting with people of the same religion who live in Münster."
Happy ending of ramadan brings the mercy of Allah. It teaches a Muslim to have distance to desires and focus entirely on the Lord and his blessings. What's more, the celebrations are aimed to create a stronger bond between the Muslims and their Lord Allah.