Ramadan officially begins on August 1 and is expected to last until August 29, at which time begins the 3 day Eid holiday. For the entire month of Ramadan, working hours are reduced from 9 AM to 3 PM, Sunday through Thursday.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic Lunar calendar and the holiest of the holy months. It begins with the sighting of the crescent of the new moon after which all physically mature and healthy Muslims are obliged to abstain from all food, drink, sex and any kind of tobacco use between dawn and sunset. Non Muslims are asked to refrain from eating, drinking, etc during the day in the presence of Muslims.
The month of Ramadan is a time for spiritual reflection, prayer, doing good deeds and spending time with family and friends. The fasting is intended to help teach Muslims self-discipline, self restraint and generosity. It also reminds them of the suffering of the poor, who may rarely get to eat well. It is common to have one meal (known as the Suhoor), just before sunrise and another (known as the Iftar), directly after sunset. This meal will commonly consist of dates, following the example of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him).
When the next crescent of the new moon has been officially sighted by a reliable source, the month of Ramadan is declared over and the month of Shawwal begins. The end of Ramadan is marked by a three-day period known as Eid al-Fitr, the "Festival of Fast-breaking." It is a joyous time beginning with a special prayer and accompanied by celebration, socializing and festive meals.
At the beginning of Ramadan, it is appropriate to wish Muslims "Ramadan Mubarak" which means "Blessed Ramadan." At its conclusion, you may say "Eid Mubarak’.
Wishing all our Muslim friends Ramadan Mubarak!
Brian and Jessica