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11 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Islamic Holiday Ramadan


For many of us, June signals the beginning of lazy summer days, beach vacations, and day trips to local attractions and events. Yet for Hudson Valley Muslims, it also marks the beginning of Ramadan, the holiest period of the Islamic lunar calendar. Ramadan kicks off at sunset on Wednesday, June 17, and for a month thereafter (it runs through Friday, July 17), Muslims worldwide observe a strict fasting regime during daylight hours, refraining from eating, drinking, smoking, and sinful behavior.

We put together a snapshot of what Ramadan looks like in the Hudson Valley and elsewhere, by the numbers:

29-30 Days in a month on the Islamic calendar.

9 Ramadan is the ninth of 12 months in the Islamic calendar, which spans 354 days.

50,000 Square footage of the Hudson Valley Islamic Community Center, located in Westchester County’s Mohegan Lake.

5 Pillars of Islam, the practices that all Muslims must follow: Shahadah, the declaration of faith; Salah, prayer; Zakah, obligatory charity; Sawm, fasting; and Hajj, pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime.

18 The day in July after Ramadan during which Muslims celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, a day of prayer and festivities.

3,300 Approximate number of Muslims in Dutchess County.

7 Million Estimated U.S. Muslim population.

12 Religious and spiritual organizations at Poughkeepsie’s Vassar College, one of which is the Vassar Muslim Students Union. The group provides transportation to a local mosque for prayer every Friday.

2004 The first year that Wappingers Central School District gave Muslim students the day off for Eid-ul-Fitr, a day of prayer and festivities. This year, New York City public schools will follow suit for the first time.

15 Hours of fasting per day for Ramadan observers.

33,000 Tons of dates produced in the U.S. in 2011, according to government figures. Dates are the traditional food used to break fast, since they provide an energy-boosting combination of carbohydrates and fiber.

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