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“Ramadan Mubarak”: Ramadan Greetings. By Subitha Baghirathan, CASS,

Ramadan is the name of the ninth month of the Islamic Lunar Calendar, and this year it began on Tuesday 13 April. Most Muslims across the world will try to fast during this month. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is specified in The Quran, the Islamic Holy Book. People who are exempt from this include pregnant or breastfeeding women, and also children.

Non-Muslims often focus on the perceived challenges of not eating or drinking anything, even water, all day during Ramadan rather than the celebration and togetherness that breaking the fast brings. The first meal of the day during this month is called “Suhoor” and is eaten before dawn, the next meal is called “Iftar”- and is at sunset. Gathering as a family, or with the wider faith community when possible, for Iftar- is a key part of Ramadan. Traditionally, the fast will be broken by dates and lots of water. However, it is important to remember that many Muslims will also “fast” from other things during Ramadan, such as cutting down on television time or social media use. The month encourages spiritual and personal reflection, offering the opportunity to shed some stubborn, unhelpful habits, maybe to replace them with a few more positive ones.

Even if the idea of fasting from food and drink from sunrise to sunset does not appeal to you, trying out a day or two of fasting or cutting down in other ways in the next month could refresh daily life. For example, not looking at your mobile phone first thing in the morning or last thing at night or having a couple of spoons of natural yogurt as a pudding instead of something sugary and sticky. This will cheer up the good bacteria in your stomach and strengthen your bones which may create a positive feeling because you are taking care of your physical health.

Making changes to unhealthy, but comforting, habits is not a simple task for most of us, but even small changes improve your wellbeing and give you a sense of achievement.

This collection of videos from Tiny Habits gives some down-to-earth suggestions for small, positive changes to your lifestyle which should improve your wellbeing without leaving you feeling pressured or weak at the knees at the thought of the effort needed: Tiny Habits for Coronavirus Challenges.

Bristol City Council has produced a series of videos on Ramadan 2021 in a range of languages.

The Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia- the most significant mosque for Muslims worldwide.

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