American Muslims Celebrate Ramadan

December 4, 2000

Source: The Washington Post

On December 4, 2000, The Washington Post reported that "during Ramadan, which started on Nov. 27, Muslims don't eat or drink from the time the sun pops up until it slinks away at night...Every night, friends and family gather to break the fast at a really big meal called an iftaar. At the end of Ramadan, people have a huge party called an Id-al Fitr, which basically is a great time to fill up on sweets and open gifts. Thousands of Muslim children at schools around Washington are honoring this holy month. Younger kids don't have to fast the entire day. Some just fast on weekends or cut back on snacks. Children under 13 or 14 are allowed to do as much--or as little--fasting for Ramadan as they can. Everyone, no matter what age, has to do some other things. They give charity to the poor, and they aren't supposed to gossip or be angry at anyone. Ramadan honors the days when the Muslim holy book, the Koran, was given to the people by God. Each night, Muslims gather to read 1/30th of the Koran. By the last day of Ramadan, the entire book has been read. Kids who celebrate Ramadan say at the end of the month everyone feels like they finished a big project... Afeefa Syeed spends a lot of time talking about Ramadan... She also tells kids that Ramadan is about more than just fasting. Part of the holiday is remembering and trying to follow the Five S's. The Five S's are all Arabic words, but they can be easily translated. Sabr--Having patience during Ramadan. Shukur--Making sure to be thankful for what you have. Salaam--Not getting angry or yelling and fighting. Sadaqa--Thinking of the poor and giving them things they need. Salaat--Praying."