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Breaking the Fast - How Ramadan is Celebrated in Asia

Breaking the Fast - How Ramadan is Celebrated in Asia

(Image: CNN)

Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims around the world and usually starts on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. This year it will begin on the evening of May 15th and ends on June 14th. This blessed month acknowledges the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad, and is commemorated by a fast between sunrise and sunset. Children, pregnant women and the sick are exempt from participating from the fast. During this time Muslims are encouraged to spend their time in prayer, meditation, reflection, strengthening their connection with God and serving the community.

With 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, Asia is home to 65% of the world's Muslim population. The practice of Ramadan's abstinence and worship remains unchanged but with the religion spreading vastly across different regions, many aspects have blended in with local cultures and traditions.


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 (Image: Jakarta Post)

Indonesia

Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population, with 227 million people identifying as Muslim. Ramadan is a time for introspection and signifies the end of one life cycle and the beginning of another. The start of one's fast in Indonesia, begins with paying respects to their elders who have passed. Visiting them at their grave with flowers and prayers.  Another tradition in Indonesia, is called 'Padusan,' it is when Muslims immerse themselves in water believed to be holy to cleanse themselves spiritually and physically prior to the holy month. 

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(Image: Ramadan Kareen Mubarak)

India

The end of Ramadan is well known within the country of India, the culmination of each fast is celebrated with picnics on mosque terraces and treats from street carts. At the end of the day, hundreds of Muslims gather together to break their fast at sunset, by laying large sheets of cloth on the floor on which they sit and eat 'Iftar' dishes prepared at home. Some will also wake up before sunrise to eat 'Sihoor' an early morning breakfast to prepare one for the fast of the day ahead.


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(Image: Rojak Daily)

Malaysia

Ramadan in Malaysia usually begins during the warmer months of the year, which can be challenging but it has its own merits and spiritual benefits. The first day of Ramadan is a public holiday, and most offices during the month close an hour early, to cater for this holy time. At sunset, where the breaking of one's fast begins, Malaysian Muslims typically seek out Ramadan Bazaars which can be found in various streets and corners of the country. These open-air markets and stalls offer a sensory explosion, from the intoxicating smells and mouth-watering local delicacies. Also during this holy month, many restaurants provide 'Buka Puasu,' meaning breaking of fast buffets, which serve an incredible spread of traditional Malaysian dishes.

If you are unable to visit these Asian countries during the holy month of Ramadan, you can still recreate the tastes and joys of 'Iftar' at home with the help of our wide range of products available here

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