Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and is a period of fasting, prayer, and community that is celebrated by Muslims around the world. It is a commemoration of Muhammad’s first revelation, and begins at the first sighting of the crescent moon, and ends around 30 days later, at the next sighting of the crescent moon. This year, Ramadan begins on the evening of April 13th and ends on the evening of May 12th. During this time, Muslims are expected to fast and abstain from pleasures, as well as gather with friends and families to celebrate and pray.
Canada has a large population of people who take part in celebrating Ramadan. The Muslim Association of Canada hosts events and posts news about Muslim activities, both locally and nationally. For Ramadan, this organization has created a variety of campaigns to celebrate Ramadan in 2021, such as community check-ins, secret gift-giving to frontline workers, and Eid packages for community members. Although the Muslim association cannot celebrate in large groups, these campaigns help to safely bring the community together to celebrate Ramadan.
In Toronto and the GTA, which has the largest population of Muslims in Canada, there are a variety of community events and celebrations for Ramadan. Since 2017, Fast in the 6 has hosted a community event in Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, where members of the Muslim community come together to share a meal and begin Ramadan. This year, this popular event has moved online. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Muslim community groups have turned to charitable actions to help those in need, such as Muslim Welfare Canada, based out of Scarborough.
In Vancouver, there is also a large population of Muslims, which meant that Ramadan is a time for great celebration in the Muslim community. Every year, Al Masjid Al Jamia, which is the oldest Mosque in Vancouver, would be a central place for community gatherings during Ramadan. During the Pandemic to abide by social distancing rules, the Mosque broadcasted its evening call to prayer to continue to bring together the community in a time of uncertainty. The BC Muslim Association also hosts online events and will be posting official prayer times for Ramadan.
Like in all other Canadian cities, the Pandemic has forced Muslims in Calgary to celebrate Ramadan indoors. Hussaini Association of Calgary is a group that normally organizes in-person community gatherings for Ramadan, however this year, the group will be focusing more on charitable acts and online community events to celebrate Ramadan.
Such a large part of celebrating Ramadan in the Muslim community is community gathering and prayer in groups. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, these celebrations have been very different, and shift to strictly family celebrations, online events, and charitable actions to bring together the community in such uncertain times.
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