The streets are lit up, the vendors all set and believers all ready. It is a big month for the world’s 1.7 billion Muslims – as they welcome the holy month of Ramadan with open arms.
The ninth month of Islam’s lunar calendar, a system which sees a new month begin at the sighting of the new moon, Ramadan as suggested by some scholars is the same month in which the Holy Qur’an was first revealed. The once in a year holy period witnesses Muslims praying, fasting, and giving to charity wholeheartedly.
As Islam follows a lunar calendar, Ramadan’s start dates changes every year, unlike the Gregorian calendar which is based on the solar year. The month of Ramadan thus moves backwards about 10 days every year as against the Gregorian calendar.
But just as all religions, different communities in Islam follow diverse decorum for determining when a new month begins. While some mark the start of a new month through scientific observations, a few follow the lunar calendar and some still rely on the actual sighting of the crescent moon in their community to begin a new month.
Though the exact dates of Ramadan are never constant, this year Ramadan falls within the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.