Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic Calendar Year, a month when the "Holy Koran or Quran" was revealed up from heaven by Allah for human beings in 615 AD,as a guidance and declaration.
Observance of Fasts
Islamic Calendar is based on the Lunar calendar (based on the moon and not the sun) The practice of fasting during Ramadan is called "Sawm". To start fasting one has to sight the crescent of the new moon with ones' naked eyes. It is a period of worship and contemplation. Muslims usually go to the Masjid and spend hours studying the Quran and recite a special prayer called the Taraweeh (Night Prayer) in addition to the 5 daily prayers.
Significance of Ramadan
Throughout the world, Muslims observe the Ramadan month by fasting and through increased concentration for purification of soul to increase closeness with God. It is a period of worship and contemplation. On the 27th evening, Muslims celebrate the Laylat-al-Qadr (Night of Power) with the believe that on this day in 610 AD, the Holy Quran was revealed providing guidance, teaching, direction to all and also judging between wrong and right. Moreover this day is believed to have influenced the course of the year.
Constraints During Ramadan
Strict constraints are placed. Smoking, drinking, meat and sexual relations are forbidden during fasting. However, children,elderly, soldiers and the incurable sick are exempted. Telling of lies, slander, false oath, betrayal are considered most offensive during Ramadan and can destroy the goodness of fasting.
Breaking Fasts: Celebration of Id-Ul-Fitr
Fasts are traditionally broken with Souhoor before sunrise and iftar after sunset. Muslims observed for 29-30 days and fasts during daylight hours for an entire month. With the end of the customary fasting during Ramadan, Id-Ul-Fitr (Feast of Fast-Breaking) is celebrated for 3 days. Gifts are exchanged and large meals are prepared In some places fairs are also held.