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Ramadan begins


Photo by Ingmar Zahorsky/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Boys at an end-of-Ramadan celebration in Kathmandu, September 2009.

The new moon tonight reminds me that tomorrow marks the start of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of daytime fasting, prayer and spiritual renewal that is celebrated around the world during the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar.

Among the stories related to Ramadan that I've seen today, this great first-person essay in the Orange County Register stood out, written by a UC Irvine student and accompanied by several photos. The author's take on the observance:

"Personally, Ramadan is more than just about fasting. It's a reset button, a time for self-reflection and contemplation. For me, it's like the start of a new year. I reflect on the months gone by and make goals for the coming year. It gives me an opportunity to empathize with and help the less fortunate as I experience what it feels like to go without food or water during daytime."

Other stories have appeared on NPR, in the Washington Post, in Voice of America, in the Associated Press (on what is being billed as the world's largest clock in Saudi Arabia, being tested during the holiday) and in the Christian Science Monitor, with the latter reporting that there will be especially hot weather during this year's Ramadan observance, at least in warmer regions of the world.