Our students come from all over the world. In fact, this term, we have students from 11 different countries. They celebrate many different holidays and customs, but as we are currently in the month of Ramadan, we invited our students to share (in English!) a few sentences about what Ramadan means to them.
"Since I met some friends from Saudi Arabia, I became more curious about their culture. For example, this month, starting in June 06 until July 05, they celebrate Ramadan. It is a month of fasting to commemorate religious reasons of Islamic belief. Additionally, I have tried one day of fasting to understand this experience. I should confess that I didn't feel good at all. That was a huge shock for my body."
- Larissa (Brazil)
"Ramadan is a holy month for all Muslims and we happily enjoy it every year. Ramadan is the month that the Quran has revealed we fast and worship Allah (God) more during this month as well as it is also an opportunity to teach yourself how to be patient and how to control your desires. For example, you have all the food around you, but you don’t allow yourself to eat it even when no one can see you. Ramadan also makes you feel people’s pain and suffering. You start thinking. After I fast for 16 or 17 hours I start to feel so weak and hungry, but at the end of the day, I get as much food as I want, but what about those who don’t have food at all. How can they survive? You really feel empathy for them and since you don’t eat as much as you do before Ramadan, you can donate the money you save for poor people. Indeed, Ramadan isn't only about making yourself feel hungry, it is also a beautiful spiritual experience that refines your soul."
- Noureddine (Algeria)
The Patience Month
"Ramadan is the patience month because it teaches you how you can increase patience by stop eating. First, Ramadan bring you closer to God more than other months. For example, we spend most of our day to read the "Qura'an" and pray. Another example is you can face another person with a smile. Second, Ramadan improves your working habits. In addition, in this month we feel special spirituality. There is one night that is better than 1000 nights. During this night, God writes the destiny for everyone in the world. Finally, we cherish this month because the revelation comes to the messenger Mohammed. Ramadan is an extraordinary month in our life."
- Mahdi (Saudi Arabia)
"Ramadan is a holy and blessed month for Muslims. It comes once annually. During this month, we fast from sunrise to sunset. Ramadan is a significant month. It reminds me how the poor people lived. They did not have any goods to drink or eat. It a compassionate month to remember our Muslims brothers. Also, it helps us to avoid bad behavior. During this month, entire families share each other in breakfast. In Ramadan, we have TRAWIH prayer that’s come after ISHA prayer. Ramadan is a springboard for us to feel compassion and change a lot of aspects in our lives."
- Turki (Saudi Arabia)
"My name is Karol, and I'm from Ecuador. My religion is Catholic, but I would like to know about Ramadan. First, what is the meaning of Ramadan for you ? Second, who participates in Ramadan? I saw that you can eat from 9:00 pm to 3:00 am, but can you eat all food that you want?. Finally, when you finish Ramadan how do you feel ? I'm curious to find out the answers to these questions because it's very interesting to learn about other cultures. Also, I will try in the future. I think that is very important ritual in your culture. I hope that you can explain my questions."
- Karol (Equador)
"Ramadan is the time of fasting for Muslims. All Muslims love Ramadan, and they wait for it so excitedly every year. Ramadan makes us more patient and more determined. For example, when I fast for 18 or 19 hours, this teaches me patience and not to give in until the time that I can drink and eat. Also, Ramadan makes me more on time because I eat and drink during specific times. In addition, Ramadan makes us feel the pain of poor people that cannot find daily food. That makes us help people in need. To sum up, every year, Ramadan changes me for the better."
- Aziza (Saudi Arabia)
"The most important fast in Ukraine is Easter fast. During 40 days before Easter, Christians don’t eat meat and milk food. Fasting generally depends on family tradition. I remember when I was a child, my grandmother told me that the last Friday before Easter is the main day during fasting, and eating any meat or milk food is especially prohibited on this day. However, usually when Christians celebrate Easter on Sunday, all food is allowed.
In general, for me, to fast means to continue my family tradition. I don’t accept fasting like any challenge or showing my ability to limit consumption of food. In spite of all, in my opinion, it is more important to clean your soul and brain from bad things during fasting than to clean your stomach."
- Victoria (Ukraine)
"Ramadan is a holy month for the Muslim community. They prepare for it one month before. When it comes, they celebrate and they call each other by phone or visit each other. After that, they have a late dinner to prepare for fasting next day from sunrise to sunset. In addition, when they are fasting, they have to avoid food, smoking, and bad things. They just pray to God and read the Quran. Also, they give money to poor people. In brief, the fasting is good for your health and your soul because you do something good in your life."
- Okbah (Saudi Arabia)
"All Muslim people fast in Ramadan for a purpose. Allah makes us fast to remember poor people around the world, and to thank Allah for all these benefits that most of the Muslims have. People in Ramadan do not feel thirsty or hungry because God makes that easy by reading the Quran, praying, and helping poor people by giving them money to buy food or giving them food that is called (Sadakah). Also in Ramadan people invite each other during this month. For example, when one family invites another family to eat together, the family that made the invitation takes credit from Allah because they serve food to the other family for free, so that is why people invite each other in this month. People are making more prayers in this month because they want Allah to forgive them for what they did, like bad behavior or stopping visiting your family. "
- Omar (Saudi Arabia)
"Shivaratri is a very traditional and auspicious Hindu festival in India. For me Shivaratri festival is very emotional because of the customs performed on this day. On the day of Shivaratri, I wake up early in the morning and wash my head. Later I will perform a few customs. Then I will go to Shiva temple and perform pooja and pray to the god Shiva (pooja is a prayer ritual performed by all the Hindus by lighting oil lamps and decorating the god with flowers). After that, I will start fasting for the entire day from sunrise to sunset because fasting is a very important custom in Hindu religion, and also people believe that if they perform fasting from early morning to evening, they may get a good and wealthy life in coming days. And also, Shivaratri has a special significance for women. In this day married women pray for the wellbeing of their husband and family, so this is the main reason for people to celebrate Shivaratri in a traditional and customary way. In my view, Shivaratri is a very emotional and traditional festival for me."
- Anil (India)
"Why is Ramadan important for Muslims? Ramadan is one month in the year. The people fast in this month from sunrise to sunset. There are many reasons to be fasting in this month. First, in our religion, it is recommended for us to be fasting the whole month because we share the feeling of the poor people. Also, this month gives the people a chance to help each other. Second, in Ramadan, the people visit each other a lot because when they offer food to their guest, it makes them get a lot of credit from God. Indeed, Ramadan is an important month for Muslims because it gives them a lot of chance to get more credit from God."
Rabab (Saudi Arabia)
"According to the Islamic calendar, Ramadan is the 9th Islamic month, in which all Muslims fast for 29 or 30 days. Sawm is the Arabic word for fasting, particularly in the month of Ramadan and it means to refrain from food and drinks from dawn to sunset. This is one of the five pillars of Islam, and should be done by all Muslims. What’s Ramadan? Fasting in the month of Ramadan is a commandment from Allah and shouldn’t be ignored by any Muslim. Those who decide to follow the commandments are making a big commitment. In addition, we believe that Ramadan is the month of competition where Muslims try to devote themselves and time to Allah by doing their prayers and reading the Quran. Ramadan is the month the Muslims like the most. What’s the fasting? Fasting is the act of obtaining from feeding the body in order to focus more on fully seeking God’s love and trust and feeding the spirit. Every day during the month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world get up before dawn to eat the Suhoor meal and perform the Fajr prayer. They break their fast when the sunset is due. Muslims also pay Zakat during the month. Muslims prepare special foods and buy gifts for their family and the needy by buying new clothes, shoes and other items of need. Indeed, Ramadan has the advantage of all the months. For example, it gives us the opportunity to be closer to God and closer to our family and friends. Ramadan is also the month of love and tolerance where the rich help the poor and the young guys help older men. Lastly, Ramadan is the month for love and peace."
- Luay (Saudi Arabia)