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Ramadan Starts, the United States

Ramadan (also known as Ramadhan or Ramzan) is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. It is a period of prayer, fasting, charity-giving and self-accountability for Muslims in the United States. The first verses of the Koran (Qu'ran) were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (also written as Mohammad or Muhammed) during the last third of Ramadan, making this an especially holy period.

Is Ramadan (first day) a Public Holiday?

Ramadan (first day) is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

Ramadan lanterns are popular during the month of Ramadan.

©iStockphoto.com/GHOSS

What Do People Do?

Ramadan is a month of fasting for many Muslims in the United States. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars (fundamental religious duties) of Islam. It is a time of self-examination and increased religious devotion.

People of Islamic faith are encouraged to read the entire Qur'an during Ramadan. Some Muslims recite the entire Qur'an by the end of Ramadan through special prayers known as Tarawih, which are held in mosques every night of the month, during which a section of the Qur'an is recited. Ramadan is also a month for acts of charity. Some Islamic centers and organizations actively take part in charity events and activities such as giving basic necessities, including food and clothing, to the homeless or donating school equipment to schools.

Some schools for students of Islamic faith may hold special events to welcome Ramadan. Some school authorities may issue requests on or prior to Ramadan, asking staff members at all schools within a district to help Muslim students perform their fasting ritual.

Public Life

Many Islamic businesses and organizations may amend opening hours to suit prayer times during Ramadan in the United States. There may also be some congestion around mosques during prayer times, such as in the evenings.

Background

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, which consists of 12 months and lasts for about 354 days. The word “Ramadan” is derived from an Arabic word for intense heat, scorched ground and shortness of food and drink. It is considered to be the most holy and blessed month. Fighting is not allowed during this period.

The month of Ramadan traditionally begins with a new moon sighting, marking the start of the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. Many Muslims (except children, the sick and the elderly) abstain from food, drink, and certain other activities during daylight hours in Ramadan. This is considered as the holiest season in the Islamic year and commemorates the time when the Qu’ran (Islamic holy book) is said to have been revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. This occurred on Laylat Al-Qadr, one of the last 10 nights of the month.  Ramadan ends when the first crescent of the new moon is sighted again, marking the new lunar month’s start. Eid-al-Fitr is the Islamic holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.

About Ramadan Starts in other countries

Read more about Ramadan Starts.

First Day of Ramadan Observances

Note: Regional customs or moon sightings may cause a variation of the date for Islamic holidays, which begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday. The Islamic calendar is lunar and the days begin at sunset, so there may be one-day error depending on when the New Moon is first seen.

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010WedAug 11First Day of RamadanMuslim 
2011MonAug 1First Day of RamadanMuslim 
2012FriJul 20First Day of RamadanMuslim 
2013TueJul 9First Day of RamadanMuslim 
2014SunJun 29First Day of RamadanMuslim 
2015ThuJun 18First Day of RamadanMuslim 
2016TueJun 7First Day of RamadanMuslim 
2017SatMay 27First Day of RamadanMuslim 
2018WedMay 16First Day of RamadanMuslim 
2019MonMay 6First Day of RamadanMuslim 
2020FriApr 24First Day of RamadanMuslim 

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