Home Culture A Guide to Ramadan in New Jersey

A Guide to Ramadan in New Jersey

by The Montclair Girl Team
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Every year, the holy month of Ramadan falls on the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar to commemorate prophet Muhammad’s first revelation in 610 AD. This year, it starts on March 10th and culminates on April 9th — which is called Eid al Fitr or “Festival of Breaking the Fast.” You may already know that during the holy month, millions of Muslims around the world fast from sunrise to sunset. However, the Islamic holy month is much more than fasting and eating — it is a time for reflection, charity, and community.

Ramadan is a communal experience. Mosques are packed with worshippers, especially during prayer times. Locally, in New Jersey, religious organizations have been holding various prayers, lectures, and fundraisers, attracting large swaths of followers. In honor of this holiday, read on for more about Ramadan and how to celebrate locally in New Jersey.

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Giving Back

In addition to fasting and praying, another big part of Ramadan is charity. As one of the five pillars of Islam, giving away is a regular part of the religious practice carried out throughout the year. And during Ramadan, followers usually double down on their charity efforts.

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ICNA Relief USA’s New Jersey chapter is located in Somerset and is a Muslim organization that provides “caring and compassionate service to victims of adversities and survivors of disasters,” per the website. The organization also looks to “strengthen the family system through education and value-based family services”, and “foster effective partnership and coordination with Islamic Centers, faith-based organizations, civic and governmental agencies.”

The Ramadan section of the website has a variety of opportunities to give back as well as some resources to use during Ramadan — including paying your zakat, donating a Ramadan food box, and more.

Read More: Organizations + Non-Profits to Give Back to in Montclair

Breaking Fast

seven valleys food

Of course, for many people who observe Ramadan, one important daily ritual is iftar, or breaking of the day’s fast. It happens at the call to evening prayer at sundown, and people often start it with some dried dates, along with a few bites of other finger food. A full meal follows after the evening prayer. In some countries, iftar takes the form of elaborate banquets shared with extended family, friends, or even the entire neighborhood, and the preparation may start two to three hours before the meal. Restaurants also prepare iftar specials for those who prefer to eat out for the big meal. Mosques, where the evening prayers take place, often arrange daily free iftar for those in need. In some large cities, mosques, cultural institutions, or NGOs also organize iftar parties that allow people of other religions to explore Muslim culture.

See More: A List of Hoboken + Jersey City Non-Profits to Donate to Year-Round



Local Happenings

See below for some local events happening for Ramadan this year:

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