Embracing Ramadan: Understanding and Supporting Those Who Celebrate

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Is your knowledge about Ramadan lacking? Allow us to help! Thanks to some conversations with those who observe the holiday and reading up on a few articles, we gained a newfound appreciation for this sacred month and you can too.

So, what exactly is Ramadan?

It's regarded as the holiest month in Islam, akin to the significance of Christmas in Christianity. Lasting for 30 days, it begins with the sighting of the new crescent moon in the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. This year, it's scheduled from March 10 to April 9.

During Ramadan, Muslims undertake a profound act of devotion by fasting from sunrise to sunset. This practice is not just about abstaining from food and drink; it's a spiritual journey aimed at deepening one's connection with Allah. 

However, Ramadan isn't solely about fasting. It's a multifaceted experience encompassing prayer, family bonding, and acts of charity. Those celebrating begin their fasting days with a pre-dawn meal called suhoor and break their fast at sunset with iftar, often starting with a date in emulation of the Prophet Muhammad's tradition. Additionally, Ramadan involves increased spiritual activities, such as nightly prayers and the recitation of the Qur'an.

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As Ramadan draws to a close, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the fasting period with joyous festivities. It's a time for congregational prayers, new attire, sharing meals with loved ones, and exchanging gifts.

Ramadan offers a profound opportunity for reflection, self-discipline, and communal solidarity. Even if you don't personally observe it, understanding the significance of Ramadan fosters cultural appreciation and empathy.

It can feel a bit daunting when you're not familiar with someone else's culture or beliefs. But there's really no need to stress. I've learned that those that celebrate will appreciate your genuine recognition and caring attitude more than anything else.

How can you show your support during Ramadan?

When you see your Muslim friends, neighbors, or coworkers, a simple "Ramadan Mubarak" or "Ramadan Kareem" goes a long way. The former is like saying "Happy Ramadan," while the latter acknowledges their self-restraint and generosity during this time. And hey, if you want to take it up a notch, wishing them an easy fast is always a thoughtful gesture.

Now, when Eid-al-Fitr rolls around, marking the end of Ramadan, the greeting changes to "Eid Mubarak." It's a little touch that shows you're aware and respectful of their traditions.

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Out of kindness, it's a good idea to avoid scheduling lunch meetings, happy hour hangouts, or coffee catch-ups during Ramadan. It just saves them the trouble of explaining why they're not partaking. It’s accommodating to adjust schedules to fit their fast and/or prayer times. Just another way to show support in their holiday and traditions.

Taking every opportunity to learn about others, listen to differing views, grow in knowledge of the world, and share our common humanity is so important. Walnut Capital encourages our employees and the community to engage with those of all backgrounds to collectively make a difference.

Happy Ramadan!