April 13, 2022
By Janset Cinaz
Ramadan is the Islamic calendar’s ninth month, and it is mainly commemorated by fasting–which includes a complete abstention from food and drinks–from dawn to sunset. This year, Ramadan is being celebrated from April 2-May 1. Ramadan is a time to practice forgiveness, patience, self-control and other admirable values.
I consider myself extremely lucky to have been introduced to Ramadan in a Middle Eastern country where the holiday is celebrated in the most spectacular ways possible. Although I was born in the United States, I spent much of my childhood in Turkey. My family relocated there when I was an infant to be closer to my relatives. I lived in Bursa, one of Turkey’s largest cities, until 2015, when my family returned to the United States primarily for a better education for me and my two siblings.
When I lived in Turkey, I witnessed the joy of the holiday, which brought my extended family together in a daily celebration that began at sunset. Unfortunately, my link to the holiday diminished when I returned to the United States. Even though my family continued to celebrate, it wasn’t the same without my grandparents around. The past few years have brought me to the realization that Ramadan is not just about fasting, but it is also an occasion to spend time with and appreciate family and loved ones.
I consider myself extremely lucky to have been introduced to Ramadan in a Middle Eastern country where the holiday is celebrated in the most spectacular ways possible.
From my experience, I’ve noticed that families celebrate Ramadan in a variety of ways, but there are some popular customs. Although I choose not to fast, breaking the fast by eating a dried date or drinking water is one of the most common Ramadan traditions. I’ve noticed that many families today are buying educational books and toys to educate their children about these traditions, which I find brilliant.
As I get older, I’m becoming more aware of the history of Ramadan. It is essential to acknowledge that one does not have to be a Muslim or practice Islam to participate in Ramadan or fast. Ramadan teaches people empathy for others who are less fortunate and the significance of being thankful. Everyone could benefit from these ways of life.
At the conclusion of Ramadan, Muslims all across the world celebrate Eid, which is commonly celebrated with a large gathering of people for a feast. It is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate because it brings back such fond childhood memories of getting dressed up in my best outfit and rejoicing with the people I love.
One of my long-term goals is to travel to Turkey during the summer and once again spend the holiday with my extended family in Turkey. Unfortunately, Ramadan will not fall in the summer for another 27 years. This is due to the fact that Ramadan falls 11 days earlier every year.
Even though I am not traveling abroad for Ramadan, I am happy that I have loved ones in the United States with whom I can celebrate. Despite the fact that Ramadan has become less significant for me since leaving Turkey, I continue to appreciate the holiday and my memories of it.