Look to the skies. The Crescent Moon, signalling the start of Ramadan

If you look to the night sky, there is a beautiful crescent moon that indicates the start of Ramadan.

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic Hijri calendar celebrated by Muslims around the world. It begins with the sighting of the new moon. If the new moon is not seen, then Ramadan starts the following day. The same process is adopted to end the Ramadan.

These days Muslims all around the world use technology to find the accurate dates for the start and end dates of Ramadan, but it is still dependent on the physical sighting. Sighting committees see the moon ‘in person’ and notify the community. In Australia social media pages are often used to communicate the crescent moon has been seen.

I grew up in Pakistan where I celebrated the whole month with my loved ones and enjoyed the special (yummy) food at the start and end of fasting. We invited friends and relatives to our house or booked restaurants to break the fast together.

I moved to Canberra in 2013 and quickly felt the difference. There was not enough of my family members or relatives in Australia to celebrate Ramadan together. It is not a month to celebrate alone, but a time to bring happiness and love for the people around you. Time passed in Australia and I made new friends to share Ramadan happiness with. Many Muslim people take leave from work on the first day of Eid-ul-Fitar to go for special prayers in the morning and socialise with family and friends. In Australia Islamic organisations and Mosques arrange Eid Party on the weekends so the majority of people can come and enjoy the festival. Eid Parties are fun with rides for kids and many food stalls.

Along with the festivities of Ramadan, it is a month of self-discipline, forgiveness, helping the poor, spiritual reflection and socialising with other Muslims. Muslims believe remembering God by praying is more beneficial in Ramadan than any other month and use special prayers called “Taraweeh Prayers” in addition to the five mandatory prayers a day. Taraweeh Prayers start with the “Esha Prayers” and the Imam leading the Taraweeh Prayers recites the Holy Quran. It is mostly one chapter per day during prayers for the whole month of Ramadan so the whole of the Holy Quran is read.

At the end of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr (Eid Day). The festival lasts for three days.

Iftar dinner with family

On Eid day Muslims goes to the Mosque for special prayers and offer charity or donations to support other people. On Eid days there are meet and greets with friends and relatives, inviting them to eat together.

Now I have enough friends and family to enjoy celebrating Ramadan in Australia. KPMG recognises the importance of cultural differences and the important of these celebration to Muslim people. So, this year I am planning to take off EiD Day to celebrate the day with my loved ones.

We should never be afraid to discuss these special days with out work colleagues as they add to the important cultural diversity of our workplace and our country.

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2 thoughts on “Look to the skies. The Crescent Moon, signalling the start of Ramadan

  1. Thanks Br. Muhammad for highlighting the religious and cultural aspects of Ramdadan. Interesting read.
    Ramadan Mubarak.

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