Ramadan is a spiritual practice of fasting in the religion of Islam. It’s a month long period based on the Islamic Calendar, which does not correlate with the Gregorian calendar that we are normally used to. In short, it really depends on the astronomical calculation.

But what exactly is it?

To those who have encountered the notion of Ramadan, you might have some basic knowledge: it is the period of the month where food and liquids are restrained from consumption (and no, not the whole time, because that would be known as starvation). A normal day for a fasting individual will begin at around 5 am for suhur, as the moment that the sun rises, the process of restraining from food starts. The individual will continue to proceed with their daily routine, and they will break their fast, also known  as iftar, when the sun sets. This will then continue for the next 29 days.

What happens if someone accidentally drinks or takes a bite of a cookie?

If punishment is your initial answer, then you are absolutely… Incorrect. If a person has eaten or drunk anything during this time of period by mistake they will immediately continue with their fasting without complication.

Is it just about food?

No, food is only a component out of many that are needed to be restricted. Others include swearing, doing bad deeds, and this extends to gossiping or talking bad about someone. Ramadan is all about spiritual healing, and thus anything that is condemned to be bad should be avoided.

So what’s the purpose of it?

The main reason for fasting is to be cleansed, to reflect and to be appreciative of the different aspects of life that we have taken for granted.  It is also to be thankful and to have the self-realization that not everyone is fortunate enough to have the luxury of food or comfort, and thus we should be thankful for ours every single chance we remember our blessings.