How Manitobans are celebrating Ramadan during the pandemic
A woman reads the Quran at a mosque amid physical distancing markings while waiting for the time to break her fast during the first day of Ramadan in Bali, Indonesia on April 13, 2021. (Firdia Lisnawati / AP)
WINNIPEG -- Today marks the first day of Ramadan, and Manitobans are finding ways to mark the holy month and follow public health guidelines at the same time.
Ramadan is a month of prayer and spiritual reflection that involves fasting between sunrise and sundown for those who follow Islam.
“It’s like a boot camp for your spiritual needs, your needs for your body, and your mental health. We fast to regroup and get ready for the rest of the year,” said Ruheen Aziz, a board member for the Manitoba Islamic Association.
This is the second Ramadan that has taken place during the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year mosques are open, while they were closed in 2020.
“It is nice to be able to attend the mosque,” Aziz said.
“Of course, we’re following public health guidelines, so it’s not as full as we had seen in previous years.”
Aziz explained to wrap up Ramadan there is a celebration called Eid al-Fitr.
She said this celebration will be different this year because people can’t gather in groups due to the public health restrictions.
“It’s a celebration. It’s a full day of eating, of course, because you don’t have to fast that day,” Aziz said.
“Getting together with family and friends, of course, we’ll be doing a lot of that virtually this year.”
THE IMPORTANCE OF RAMADAN
Aziz said Ramadan is about understanding the purpose of charity and preserving your understanding of religion.
“It’s really about teaching all of the people who are practising the faith about restraint and patience,” she said.
Aziz added Ramadan is a time to prepare for what you are going to do for the rest of the year.