When the Sun Sets

Ramadan is celebrated by nearly 1.8 million Muslims worldwide, but people are still not aware of what it is.

Grace Swanson, Reporter

In simple terms, Ramadan is the holy month of Islam in which people celebrate by fasting from sunrise to sunset every day. The starting day of Ramadan fluctuates each year because the Islamic calendar follows the phases of the moon. In 2021, Ramadan started on April 12, and in 2022, it began on April 2. This year, it ends on Sunday, May 1st.

People of the Muslim faith are expected to begin fasting once they have reached adolescence, around the age of 14 or 15. However, this may differ from person to person, including Elkhorn High School junior Sana Ahmed. Ahmed began fasting when she was around ten years old. People are expected to fast every day if it is possible for them, but there are a few exceptions. For women, they are not expected to fast if they are on their menstrual cycle. 

Graphic by Cassy Limley


“It’s okay to skip fasting if you are traveling because it’s hard with the time changes. If you have health conditions, you’re not expected to fast,” Ahmed said.

While one is participating in fasting, one cannot eat or drink anything, including water. Once the sun sets, Muslim families break their fast with a meal called the Iftar. 

“We eat nutritious food, like rice, and protein, like chicken. We also have cultural food that my mom makes to break our fast. Sometimes, we go to the mosque to eat. There are a lot of varieties of foods,” Ahmed said. 

Ahmed’s favorite part about Ramadan is having family dinners to break their fast because they get to sit together and talk about their day.  

At Elkhorn High School, there are not many students who celebrate or participate in Ramadan, and many people aren’t even aware of what it is. Teachers are usually understand

ing of Ahmed’s fasting after her parents email the teachers and principal to let them know. Because of this, Ahmed’s teachers and peers have concerns about her well-being.

“I want people to know that we are not starving ourselves because it’s a common misconception to be like, ‘Why are you starving yourself?’ and ‘Isn’t that bad for your body?’. People actually tend to gain weight during Ramadan. It’s also a part of our religion, so it’s something that we have to do,” Ahmed said.

Ahmed finds the most difficult part of fasting to be simply remembering that she is fasting. 

“When I first started fasting, I would always forget and be like ‘Oh, I’m really thirsty,’ so I would take a sip of water which would break my fast,” Ahmed said. 

Due to the absence of food and water during the day, people who are fasting may experience an increased amount of fatigue compared to a typical day without fasting. This can affect their performance in school or other activities, but it’s usually not enough to seriously affect their working ability.

With Ramadan being celebrated by nearly 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide, including students within the Elkhorn Public Schools district, the public should be more aware of it.

Print this entry