This evening marks the start of the holy month of Ramadan, Lamis Alaa Eldin Refat from SSPC at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) explains Ramadan and how she and her family would mark the holy month.
Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic lunar year. It is a special time for Muslims all over the world as it’s a chance for self-evaluation and spiritual cleansing. Refraining from food and drink from sunrise till sunset is symbolic for practicing the control on one’s urges and desires; a journey to restore peace to the heart and mind.
For me, Ramadan is a celebration of everything I’m blessed with; my health, my family, and my friends. For the duration of 30 days, we all gather for breakfast looking forward to the mouth-watering meals, followed by desserts and coffee in front of the television. You just need to forget about counting calories in Ramadan! It’s a special tradition for my family to prepare the Ramadan calendar where every member chooses a day to host the rest of the family for breakfast, the calendar usually extend to friends and friends-of-friends! Everybody looks forward to showcasing their cooking skills!
In Egypt, Ramadan spirit cannot be missed, the sound of the daily night prayers, the lights of the lanterns everywhere you go, and sometimes a long drive in the empty streets just before the Maghreb sunset prayer is exactly what the busy mind needs for winding down.
Last Ramadan, we may have pressed a pause on all the get-togethers because of the pandemic, but this year is unprecedented especially for me as I’m experiencing it for the first time in my life in a new country away from my family and friends. As much as it feels a bit nostalgic to spend the holy month alone, I’ve been blessed with new friends here in Ireland that always support me and make me feel at home. I’m grateful for this new experience as I’m certain it will enrich my spiritual journey throughout the holy month.
I wish all my friends and colleagues a blessed and peaceful Ramadan.