ALT = Painted hands (AP Images)
Many of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims will observe the month of Ramadan in different ways, blending their own cultural customs with Islamic traditions of prayer and fasting. In the United States alone, Muslims come from more than 80 countries and represent a mosaic of ethnic, linguistic, ideological, social and economic groups.
Although the principal teachings of Ramadan remain consistent, the fusion between religious tradition and diverse cultures embodies the interconnectivity and diffusion of a modern, globalized world.
ALT = Room of people kneeling in prayer (AP Images)
It is estimated that there are between 2.5 million and 7 million Muslims in the United States. The exact number is difficult to determine because the U.S. government does not request religious information on census forms. Muslims in the United States are estimated to come from more than 80 countries.
Here, Muslims in Washington pray during a Ramadan service.
ALT = Women at flower stall (AP Images)
During Eid al-Fitr, Malaysian Muslims often celebrate by dressing in traditional clothing and visiting the homes of friends and relatives. Eid al-Fitr is often celebrated in Malaysia with brightly colored decorations. Here, women select flowers for the upcoming Eid al-Fitr festival in Kuala Lumpur.
ALT = People kneeling in grassy field (AP Images)
There are a projected 20 million Muslims living in Russia from diverse nationalities, including Dagasanis, Tartars and Chechens. In 2006, a record-high 18,000 Russian Muslims performed the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca. Here, a Russian man offers prayers in Moscow on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan.
ALT = Close-up of two women’s faces (AP Images)
In the Kalma refugee camp in Sudan’s western Darfur region, these women pray to begin Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan. Muslims are required to pray five times a day..
ALT = People at fence holding out arms to man (AP Images)
A man at a mosque in Trinidad and Tobago, where Muslims make up 6 percent of the population, offers alms to the needy during Eid al-Fitr. As part of Islam, followers all over the world are asked to donate part of their earnings each year to the less fortunate. Many Muslims make their donations at the end of Ramadan, after having spent the month fasting and praying to become more aware of the less fortunate.
ALT = Girl watching woman paint another girl’s hand (AP Images)
It is common for young girls and women in Bangladesh to decorate their hands with henna paste in preparation for Eid al-Fitr, as shown here. Henna is applied for luck, joy and beauty, and it is believed to have originated in India as a decoration for brides.
ALT =People sitting outside arched entryway (AP Images)
Worshippers gather at a mosque to pray during Ramadan in Sydney, Australia. Muslims have a long history in Australia, dating back to before the arrival of European settlers, when Indonesian traders would sail along the northern coast to fish.
ALT = children in embroidered outfits and headdresses (AP Images)
Children in traditional dress get ready for the “Garangao” celebration in a Doha neighborhood of Qatar. It is a custom on the 14th day of the holy month of Ramadan for children to wear traditional outfits and roam from house to house to collect sweets and nuts in small cotton bags that hang around their necks.
ALT = Boy looking around lines of men praying (AP Images)
A boy peers around a man’s back during Ramadan in Nairobi, Kenya. Celebrations of Ramadan in Kenya mostly will take place along the coast, which has the highest concentration of Muslims. Young children are not required to fast, but most begin the process when they are between the ages of 7 and 11.
ALT = Man and children with foosball table (AP Images)
Iraqi boys celebrate Eid al-Fitr by playing a game of foosball on the street, marking the end of the monthlong Ramadan fast.
ALT = Crowd viewed through carved archway (AP Images)
Muslims gather for prayer at a mosque in Paris during Ramadan. Decorative arches, like the one shown here, are often characteristic of mosques and other Islamic architecture.
France, like the United States, does not request information on religious affiliation on census forms, making it very difficult to estimate how many Muslims live in the country.
ALT = Man with upraised arms holding cloths (AP Images)
An Afghan man celebrates the arrival of Eid al-Fitr. Afghans around the world will dance the attan, the traditional dance, as well as many others to observe the end of the month of fasting.
ALT = Boy standing in line (AP Images)
A young boy attends prayers to celebrate Eid al-Fitr at a mosque in Johannesburg, South Africa. In Cape Town, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr by gathering for the sighting of the moon on the last day of Ramadan. By Islamic tradition, Ramadan can end only when the new moon marking the next month can be seen. The next day will begin the celebrations of Eid al-Fitr.
ALT = Boy with meat skewer in mouth (AP Images)
A young Chinese Muslim eats a meat skewer at an Eid al-Fitr celebration outside of a mosque in Beijing. During the celebration of Eid al-Fitr, many Chinese Muslims will travel to the grave of Sayyid Ajjal Shams al-Din Omar, who brought Islam to China in 651, for a reading from the Quran.
ALT = Boy upside-down in ride in front of building (AP Images)
A young Egyptian boy swings upside down in front of a mosque in Cairo during a celebration of Eid al-Fitr. Roughly 90 percent of the Egyptian population is Muslim, although there are many different denominations within the religion.
Observing Ramadan Worldwide
05 August 2009
Many of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims will observe the month of Ramadan in different ways, blending their own cultural customs with Islamic traditions of prayer and fasting.
(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/iipdigital-en/index.html)