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What is Ramadan?

Next month will be the start of Ramadan. It is a holy month where Muslims make some very big changes to their lives. You’re probably going to notice people in London on the buses or the tube half-asleep, or your colleagues and classmates looking tired, hungry and glum. People will stare at you desperately whilst you tuck into your Tesco meal deals and Wasabi lunches.

Their lips will be dry and they’ll keep staring at your water bottle. But why? Well, they’ll probably be fasting!


What is fasting?

Fasting is the act of giving up food and drink for a period of time. Every year, many British Muslims observe the month of Ramadan. It is a four week period where they refrain from eating and drinking during daylight hours. They eat and drink at dawn and go about their day until dusk when they enjoy a feast of delicious food.


Why do Muslims fast?

For many Muslims, It is a time where you remember those who are less fortunate. They are encouraged to give charity, in any form such as food to the homeless beggars we walk past during our commute to work and donating clothes to local charities. It’s a month of giving, remembering and appreciating what we have in life.


Is fasting safe?

According to leading medical experts, fasting improves your energy levels, encourages a healthy diet and reduces stress and anxiety. Your body learns to do more with less. It’s amazing how a bagel at dawn can keep you energised throughout the whole day. It also improves your relationship with food so you don’t consume mindlessly, reducing the likelihood of food addictions and unnecessary snacking. Medical experts recommend we adopt intermittent fasting which is when we fast for between 4-6 hours per day. By training our mind to only eat food at certain times, you regain control of your body. Of course, it’s not for everyone, so if you don’t want to give up those Krispy Kreme doughnuts yet, then snack away! We won’t judge.


What do people do after Ramadan?

After Ramadan, there’s a festive celebration called Eid where people invite all their friends and family over. They open gifts, play games and eat great food. It’s a bit like Christmas without the tree! It’s the celebration of the end of fasting but the beginning of a new and better you. People try to adopt many new habits during Ramadan in an attempt to improve their lives. Some people try to continue giving charity and others try eating healthier foods and lessen their junk food habits.


How will Ramadan affect me?

It may not affect you a lot, but it’s good to be aware of what’ll change around London. You’ll probably see Ramadan food offers at the supermarkets and Ramadan greetings cards. You may have Muslim neighbours or live in an area with a mosque. London is full of all sorts of people from different beliefs and cultures, so it’s important to learn about all the different festivals and events that happen throughout the year so you can be well-cultured. Easter has just past so you have missed all the chocolate glory but maybe you can pop into your local supermarket and try some Ramadan favourites?


Don’t forget to wish your Muslim friends and neighbours a happy Ramadan!

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