Friday, June 10, 2016
Under a Ramadan Moon
Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, began this past Monday. It wasn't that long ago that Canadians, including Canuck Christians didn't know boo about Ramadan. Now we might have a neighbour or co-worker who is quietly observing through the month. Others are making the effort to educate and learn publically.
In Toronto there is a program called "Meet Your Neighbour" in which Muslim families across the city welcome non-Muslim neighbours to their dinner tables. In Montreal, downtown St. James United Church held an interfaith event at sundown which included music and communal prayer, and Muslim participants broke their daily fast. Rev. Arlen Bonnar said the interfaith iftar (an evening meal Muslims eat after their daily fast) was a bridge-building event to show the solidarity of the diverse communities in Montreal.
Ramadan isn't just about fasting from food in the period between dawn and dusk. It is also a time to abstain from negative passions -- road rage perhaps? Charity and generosity are also important aspects of Ramadan.
I like the fact that Ramadan is connected to the lunar cycle, which gives us a common thread between the three great monotheistic religions. Our greatest Christian festival is Easter, which is on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring Equinox (got that?) Passover is also lunar dependent, which is why Pesach and Holy Week often coincide. These three religions are very different, and we need to understand both how and why. Yet it is wonderful when we find commonalities. Always, we can be respectful and open to learning from others.
Watch this sweet little musical video called Ramadan Moon by Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) https://www.google.ca/?gws_rd=ssl#q=ramadan+moon+song
Do you know anyone who observes Ramadan? Do you wish you knew more about the observances of other religions?