What’s On May
Ramadan, May 5 – June 4
The holiest month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan is a time for spiritual reflection and repentance, community goodwill and treasured moments with loved ones for 1.5 billion Muslim people around the world. The timing varies each year because it is based on the lunar cycle; Ramadan begins with the sighting of the first crescent of the new moon in the ninth Islamic month, when the Qu’ran is believed to have been revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Most Muslims fast for a full lunar month, between dawn and sunset each day, during Ramadan. They will typically have a meal just before the sun comes up (suhoor) and break the fast with another (iftar) when the sun sets. As Indonesia is the country with the world’s biggest Muslim population, it is unsurprising that there are a diverse number of seasonal traditions. In Java, many people bathe in holy springs to get ready for fasting, while in Jakarta, firecrackers used to be set off to wake people for morning prayer. Ramadan ends with Eid Al-Fitr (or Idul Fitri), a two-day festival during which many Indonesians return to their birthplace to enjoy banquets with family and friends. Selamat Lebaran!