The upcoming holiday on the 13th of May 2021 is more than just a chance for us to recuperate after a handful of busy days. For many in our country and around the world, the day marks a special occasion called Eid al-Fitr.
Though the Philippines is a predominantly Christian community, the country is also home to some 5 million Muslims—the second largest demographic after Christians. This Thursday, they will all be celebrating Eid al-Fitr, or the end of Ramadan.
What is Ramadan?
For Muslims, Ramadan is the holy month of fasting. In the Muslim calendar, Ramadan falls on the 9th month, which means that Eid al-Fitr falls on the 10th. Ramadan is a very special time for all Muslims as it's believed to be when God revealed the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad. To commemorate this in spirit, Muslims observe much self-restraint over the course of 30 days. It's often a time for introspection, communal prayer, and studying of or reading of the Quran.
These acts of sacrifice are also in line with one of the five pillars of Islam, in particular with sawm, which means "to refrain" or abstinence. As such, from dawn to dusk for 30 days, Muslims avoid eating, drinking, and all forms of immoral behaviour. This includes unkind thoughts, bad deeds or intentions. Smoking and sexual behaviour are also often avoided.
In the past, Ramadan is often observed by going to the mosque to pray. Iftar is also often observed, which is when Muslims gather together for a sunset meal. During the current pandemic, these activities have been limited to observe health protocol.