Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar during which the first verses of the Qur'an were revealed. For Ramadan, participating Muslims refrain from eating and drinking during the day. It is a time for Muslims to fast for the sake of Allah and to offer special prayers. The practice of fasting is meant to teach patience, self-discipline, and empathy for the less fortunate.
Every day during the month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world rise before dawn to eat Sahur or Sehri or Sahari (meaning "something we eat at Sahar") and perform the fajr (or Sobh) prayer. The fast begins before the call to prayer starts and ends with the fourth prayer of the day, Maghrib. Muslims break their fast at Maghrib (sunset) prayer time with a meal called Iftar. Muslims may continue to eat and drink after the sun has set until the next morning's fajr call to prayer.
During Ramadan, Muslims ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance and help in refraining from everyday evils, and try to purify themselves through self-restraint and good deeds. Food and gifts are often shared with the poor during this time.
The Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the fasting period of Ramadan. During Eid, food and gifts are donated to the poor (Zakat al-Fitr). Communal prayers are held in the early morning, followed by feasting and visiting with relatives and friends. Common greetings during this holiday are the Arabic greeting ‘Id mubarak ("Blessed Eid") or ‘Id sa‘id ("Happy Eid"). In addition, many countries have their own greetings based on local language and traditions.
Eid al-Adha, or Festival of Sacrifice, is celebrated by Muslims around the world annually on the 10th day of the last month of the lunar Islamic calendar. Lasting for three days, the joyful holiday honors the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim, or Abraham, to obey Allah by sacrificing his only son. On this holiday Muslims attend mosque, gather with family and friends, and exchange gifts.
SOS Raises Children in Their Own Traditions
Holiday traditions are very important at SOS Children's Villages. At SOS, each child is brought up according to the belief he or she has taken from his or her parents. If the parents' faith is not known, SOS will provide access to the religion which is most common in the child's local culture. In many SOS Villages, different faiths are represented.
When you donate to SOS Children's Villages, you help provide a secure, home environment where every child can feel loved and accepted.
Send an eCard for Eid or make a donation to help orphaned children during Ramadan.