Editor's note: Ramadan is here once again and Muslims all over the world are ready for the one month dawn to dusk fast. For some people, it offers an opportunity to engage in a new religious lifestyle.
Below are 5 interesting facts you should know about Ramadan:
1. 9 month of the Islamic calendar
Ramadan is the 9 month of the Islamic calendar. Like the Gregorian calendar, it has 12 months. However, it is a lunar calendar. The month is popular because Muslims are expected to fast from dawn to dusk among other religious rites during this period. The festival that marks the end of the fast is called Eid al fitr.
2. Some people fast longer hours than others
Yes, you read that right. Some people fast longer hours than others. This depends on where you live though. For Muslims in Australia, they are likely to fast for a little more than 9 hours while Muslims in Sweden are likely to fast for more than 20 hours. Nigerians though will be fasting for a little more than 14 hours.
3. The date changes every year
Since Ramadan falls under the Muslim calendar that is a lunar calendar, the date is not fixed. The lunar month is 10-11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar. Thus, Ramadan moves back 11 days every year and takes about three years to move back a month.
4. Ramadan means "scorched earth"
Ramadan is from the Arabic root word ramiḍa or ar-ramaḍ, which means scorching heat or dryness. Depending on how you look at it, some people see a relationship between the dryness and the state of the individual during fasting.
5. Health benefit
Yes, fasting has health benefit. A study conducted in 1997 in the Annals of Nutrition Metabolism demonstrated that fasting lowered Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol levels by 8 percent, triglyceride by 30 percent, and increased good cholesterol or High Density Cholesterol (HDL) levels by 14.3 percent thereby protecting your heart from cardiovascular disease.
Ramadan Mubarak to all our Muslim readers!