Ramadan is a religious practice in which Muslims around the globe participate in each year. It consists of fasting from sunrise to sunset for 30 days. You might have a neighbor or co-worker who is fasting during Ramadan. These are some things that you probably didn’t know about Ramadan and food.

Ramadan isn’t all about fasting

Ramadan has more to do than just sacrificing food and drinks. One big part of the month is reflecting on and helping out the less fortunate. Muslims and organizations spend the month being proactive in doing charity work in many different ways. And everyone is welcome to join in. If you are interested, conducting a quick Google search will show you many different organizations of all sizes looking for volunteers for the month. You can take the chance to get involved and do something good with your time.

Muslims wake up at midnight to eat

The meal before sunrise is known as Suhoor. This can range from breakfast foods to full on dinner meals before the sun rises. Other individuals might choose to sleep through the opportunity to eat. Many families who don’t usually have the opportunity to eat breakfast together will wake up as early as 4:30 to 5:00 a.m. to share breakfast and prepare for their fast for the day.

Chefs who are fasting are allowed to taste food

Everyone knows that fasting Muslims need to avoid eating food and drink during the daylight hours. But, those who are preparing the food for iftar (the breaking of the fast) are allowed to taste everything. This is because there is nothing worse than spending the whole day making food only to realize it’s missing something.

Ramadan falls on different dates each year

Ramadan uses the lunar calendar to determine the exact start and end date of Ramdan every year. Each year, Ramadan will start a couple days earlier than the year before it. This will also affect how long the fast is and will mean shorter fasts when Ramadan falls into the winter months.

No drinks include no water

Most foodies might be surprised to find out that Muslims can go the 17 hour fast with absolutely nothing, no food and no water. This is a common misunderstanding. Many people think that they can at least drink water but no, no food or water for the full duration of the fast.

TV ratings go up

During Ramadan, work hours tend to be more lenient for those fasting. Therefore, more people have more free time. Local TV shows will spend entire years working to create special content for the month of Ramadan. This causes TV ratings to go through the roof during the holiday.

Ramadan is also about shopping

Ramadan is not only a month about spirituality and tradition, it is also a month of shopping. These days, the holiday has ignited the growth of Ramadan sales featuring discounts on pretty much anything you can think of. This can be attributed to the fact that people might like shopping during Ramadan, or the deals being offered during it are making people want to shop.

Not every Muslim needs to fast during Ramadan

Children, the elderly, those who are ill or pregnant do not need to fast. Instead, they are able to make up the fasts at a later time or they can donate a meal per day to those who are less fortunate. Children will sometimes participate in the mock half-day fasts and then join in on the delicious meals. Ramadan is a time for spiritual reflection and is not meant to harm those involved or those unable to fast. A majority of Muslims will look forward to Ramadan and many children can’t wait to join in on the fun as well.

It is not a diet plan

There is an assumption that after the 30 days of Ramadan are over then those who fasted will lose a great amount of weight. While some might lose weight, others will stay the same weight. It might also surprise you to find out that some actually gain weight after fasting for the month. This is typically due to eating large portions of food at once as the fast is broken each day. Some cultures will enjoy fried foods like samosas or spring rolls after breaking their fast. This makes it pretty easy to overeat.

Fasts are usually broken by eating dates

At sunset, dates are the traditional way to open the fast, followed by a spread of foods that usually changes with each culture. This meal is known as iftar. Usually, some plain medjool dates are fine most of the time, individuals hosting Iftar parties might want to get a bit more creative with their dates. For example, dates that are stuffed or rolled in coconut flakes, could make an appearance.

The 30 days of Ramadan ends with a celebration known as Eid

After the 30 days of fasting have been completed, Muslims around the world celebrate Eid. The morning will start with prayer and then the celebration continues with friends, family and plenty of delicious food. Traditional foods will vary from culture to culture, but they usually always include an impressive dessert.

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