Ramadan Quick Facts - FR

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2024 Date10 March 2024
2025 Date1 March 2025

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Ramadan History

Ramadan is a month long celebration of fasting, prayer, reflection and community. Considered one of the Five Pillars of Islam, it is a period dedicated for Muslims to draw closer to their faith, displaying devotion and discipline. Participants fast from dawn until sunset, abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking, and participating in certain activities during daylight hours. Beyond fasting, Muslims are also encouraged to read the Quran, engage in charitable works and participate in communal prayers at night, known as Taraweeh.

The advent of Ramadan in France dates back to the mid-20th century, paralleling the waves of immigration from Muslim-majority countries. In France, Ramadan serves as a bridge between different communities, fostering understanding and respect. Beyond the religious aspects, it provides glimpses into the rich cultural diversity, highlighting uniquely French-Muslim traditions. The culinary landscape, for instance, provides a fascinating glimpse into this fusion, with traditional dishes served at Iftar –the meal that breaks the fast- merging seamlessly with French culinary traditions.

In France, the observance of Ramadan mirrors global Muslim practices, adapted to the local context. Communal prayers are held in various mosques across the country, traditionally followed by a communal meal to break the fast. During this period, Muslims in France, like their brethren worldwide, make adjustments to their daily routine to accommodate religious obligations. France, being a largely secular country does not officially recognize Ramadan, hence its occurrence -dictated by the lunar calendar- doesn't have a fixed date in the French Calendar. However, Muslims in France adapt by following the global Islamic calendar closely, observing Ramadan in sync with the global Muslim community.

Facts & quotes about Ramadan

  • According to Islamic tradition, menstruating women, women who are experiencing bleeding after giving birth, people who are sick (either with short term or long term illnesses), and travelers are exempt from fasting. Pregnant women also have the option of skipping fasts.
  • According to Sunnah belief, the Prophet Muhammad once said, There is no conceit in fasting.
  • O who believe, fasting is decreed for you as it was decreed for those before you; perchance you will guard yourselves (Quran, 2:183)
  • A special cultural event called 'Courtyard Ramadan' (Les Cours du Ramadan) is organized in several cities in France every year. It offers a variety of artistic and intellectual events examining the diverse nature of Islam, including musical concerts, theatrical performances, and debates.
  • The Great Mosque of Paris plays a central role in the Muslim community during Ramadan. Built in the 1920s, it's a place for prayers, especially during the holy month. The mosque is also famous for hosting a 'Nuit du Destin' (Night of Destiny) ceremony, an important event in the Ramadan calendar.

Top things to do in France for Ramadan

  • The fast is usually broken in a family setting, where traditional foods are served. Most Muslims begin their meal with a few dates and a glass of milk because the Prophet Muhammad used to do the same. The high sugar content of the dates sends energy to weary fasting Muslim, while the fiber in the dates and the protein in the milk fills them up and prevents nausea.
  • During Ramadan, Muslims congregate every night in the mosque to pray Taraweeh prayers in congregation. In the United States, in between sets of prayers, the Imam gives a brief sermon and encourages people to give to charity.
  • Break the Fast with Iftar: Many restaurants and communities host special dinners to break the fast each night during Ramadan. Some even offer free meals for those who are fasting. This is a great way to experience the French-Muslim culture.
  • Read a book to read to learn more about Ramadan in France:
    Islam in France: The French Way of Life Is in Danger - by Paul Fregosi
    Why the French Don't Like Headscarves: Islam, the State, and Public Space - by John R. Bowen
    Divided We Stand: Islam, the West, and the Global War on Terror - by Faroque Abdullah Khan

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