Holy month-long fasting festival Ramadan begins on March 22, 2023

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The month of fasting and prayers, introspection and self-control, Ramadan begins Wednesday, March 22, 2023, leading to the Eid celebrations on April 20, 2023. These dates may vary according to the phases of the moon in the Islamic lunar calendar.

Ramadan, also known as Ramzan in India, is celebrated worldwide by the Muslim community, as well as some fasting-enthusiast friends. The term Ramzan was introduced in India by the Parsis or the Persian settlers. The term Ramadan is used through the world.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray host an Iftar meal at Gracie Mansion to break the fast for Ramadan on Thursday, June 1, 2017. Seen i photo comedian Hasan Minhaj. Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

Ramadan fasting is considered one of the hardest, with food and liquids allowed during an eight or nine hour window between evening and early morning. Outside that window, not just food, but even water is not allowed. This austerity and the prayers through the day is said to cleanse the body and the mind, bringing one closer to god. Many, who cannot follow this fasting schedule for health reasons, try to fast the first and the last day or one week of the month.


Ramadan will be celebrated in major cities of the U.S. this year, as it has been celebrated in the previous years. Last year in New York City, thousands gathered at the Times Square in Manhattan to mark the beginning of Ramadan. After a day of prayers, more than 1,500 Iftar-to go boxes were also distributed in the evening.

Ramadan celebrations in Jackson Heights in the borough of Queens,  New York, are especially popular, attracting many tourists. The area acquires a festive look during the Eid celebrations every year, with street vendors selling clothes and accessories, and food stalls and restaurants offering celebratory meals.

Last year’s Eid celebration in Jackson Heights included food vendors, henna artists and dance groups, ending with a display of fireworks. Locally sponsored Iftar boxes to break the fast at the end of the day are usually distributed at the Diversity Plaza on Broadway during the last week of Ramadan to those who are fasting.

Local political leaders have been joining in the celebrations, including during the pandemic. In 2020, at the height of the Corona virus, Senator Jessica Ramos distributed more than 800 halal meals in Jackson Heights.

In the neighboring state of New Jersey, Ramadan is celebrated at many places, including Hoboken, Jersey City, Middlesex County, Somerset County, and many more.

East Brunswick in New Jersey has also been celebrating Eid and holds special events to mark the month-long religious fasting. This year, as for the past two years, a special lighting ceremony will be held March 20 at the Municipal Pond. Located in Middlesex County, the East Brunswick Municipal Pond is located near the Town Hall, the Municipal Building and East Brunswick Police headquarters. The lighting ceremony is being hosted jointly for the past three years by the East Brunswick Human Relations Council and the Township.

This year the lighting ceremony will be attended by many council members, and township members. Last year, some of the special attendees included Chair Erum Shakir of the East Brunswick Human Relations Committee, Mayor Brad Cohen, Religious Director at the New Brunswick Islamic Community Sami Catovic, and community member Muhammad Hashmi.

East Brunswick Muslim community also has another reason to celebrate this year. Last month, the East Brunswick Board of Education included Eid in their school holiday calendar for 2023-24. All schools will be closed for Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adah. This was achieved after the community approached the BOE, educating the members about the importance of the holiday. The BOE also decided to specify holidays with their names instead of the broader terms ‘spring break’ or ‘fall break’.



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