Ramadan is upon us and is expected to begin on March 11th this year. Muslims all around the globe will celebrate this holy month by abstaining from eating and drinking throughout the day, fasting from sunrise to sunset!

As the 9th month on the Islamic calendar, also known as the Hijri calendar, each month starts with the new moon sighting, varying 10-12 days annually. Ramadan can occur at any time throughout the year, making it an arduous challenge for adults and teenagers alike especially in the summer when the days are longer and hotter.

Ramadan helps Muslims become closer to God and rid themselves of impurities and sin. It is a holy blessed month and is one of the five pillars of Islam.

News Shopper: Beyond its religious significance, Ramadan offers lesser-known benefits. It teaches gratitude by emphasising the appreciation for food and water, which others may not be blessed to have. Families are also brought closer together as everyone will be gathered around a dinner table at the same time for a special meal, opposed to the hurried and rushed meals made throughout the rest of the year due to the fast-paced modern lifestyle.

During a day of fasting, especially in the Summer or Spring when the days are prolonged, and craving for food and water is increased, one can utilise their time to be more productive by keeping their minds busy doing unfinished work whilst making their day go faster at the same time.

Furthermore, a long day of fasting will provide the digestive system with ample time to finish digesting the food from the previous day rather than storing it as fat like it would during the usual three-meal per day routine throughout the year when people are constantly overloading their digestive system from breakfast to lunch to dinner without allowing the stomach to complete its digestion process, similar to the hard-working clerk whose Boss keeps on piling workload upon workload on their desk even when they are yet to finish the previous load, leading him to store it for a never coming later.

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Interestingly, fasting is incorporated in many other religions, such as Christianity and Judaism. Christians celebrate Lent, for the 40 days before Easter, where traditionally it was a time for fasting from foods such as meat, eggs, fish, and fats. However, many Christians are opting nowadays to give up gourmet foods such as chocolate and dessert and/or leisure activities such as social media. Jewish people also fast for the holiday Yom Kipper for roughly 24 hours where they repent and reflect on their sins.

In conclusion, as we await the arrival of this year's Ramadan, we should recognise its importance, not only from a religious aspect but also from a more conventional aspect such as having various health benefits as recently proved by modern-day science. It has now become a common trend to practice intermittent fasting amongst other types of fasting in order to improve wellbeing.

Ramadan also serves as a reminder for showing gratitude and strengthening family bonds. Therefore, whether you are religious or not, this is a great opportunity to cleanse your digestive system and improve your overall health, so Happy Ramadan to all!