Muslims observe Ramadan for 1 month once a year. In 2022 Ramadan starts on April 1st, 2022, and ends on May 1st of 2022. The celebration consists of a month of fasting, contemplation, and prayer. During this month, Muhammad received the first revelations of the Quran, the Muslim sacred book. Muslims use the month of Ramadan as an opportunity to improve spiritually and build closer ties with God. Praying and reciting the Quran are only a few ways Muslims strive to live virtuously. They also avoid violence, lying, and gossip.

All Muslims, with the exception of those who are unwell, pregnant, traveling, elderly, or in menstruation, are required to fast from sunrise to sunset every day of Ramadan. Fasting days that are missed can be made up throughout the year, either all at once or one at a time. (Teach your children about Ramadan by reading about it together.)

Gathering together for meals is an opportunity for Muslims to break their fast with others in the community. It is common for Muslims to eat their first meal of the day, or suhoor, about 4:00 am, before the first prayer of the day, fajr. The sunset prayer, Maghreb, usually concludes around 7:30 pm, at which point the evening meal, called iftar, can begin. Muslims eat dates at suhoor and iftar because the Prophet Mohammad did so with dates and water. In the Middle East, dates are a staple, providing the body with sugar after a long day of fasting.

Eid al-Fitr—the “holiday of breaking the fast”—is celebrated by Muslims after the last day of Ramadan, which begins with community prayers at dawn. On these three days of celebration, people gather to pray, eat, exchange gifts, and remember deceased relatives. Carnivals and massive prayer vigils are both held in several places. The spirit of this centuries-old ritual will stay the same, no matter what people intend to do for their suhoor and iftar celebrations this year.