my first ramadan
Being the one of the five pillars of islam, ramadan is celebrated in the ninth month of the year in the muslim calendar, from march 23 to april 20 this year.
How do you live, the first time you celebrate Ramadan, abstaining from eating, drinking and smoking, from dawn until sunset? Subwayspoke to three young people who are celebrating Ramadan for the first time this year.
During the month of Ramadan, which ends this year on April 20, the majority of people of the Muslim faith fast all day in the purpose of evoking the suffering of the poor.
Fasting during Ramadan is not compulsory for children before the age of puberty, but 11-year-old Lilyann decided to take the plunge this year. She has wanted to observe this custom since she was very little.
“I tried to start when I was six years old, but it was a bit difficult, so I did half-days” , says the 6th grade student who lives in Rosemont. For her, the Ramadan experience extends beyond food and water deprivation.
We also avoid making bad gestures and saying bad words. It's a personal challenge that helps me keep good habits at all times.
While the month of Ramadan is particularly an opportunity for Muslims to make a personal sacrifice by Thinking of those who have fewer resources than them, it is also an opportunity to take concrete actions of benevolence towards others.
“I help to make food baskets for those who have nothing to eat or drink and I also save money to give to the mosque, to people on the street or to people in Turkey [affected] by the earthquake, for example”, emphasizes little Lilyann, who is keen to continue these actions outside of Ramadan.
Doing Ramadan alone
Seeking to understand the foundations of the Christian religion in which he was raised, Giovani Victorien, 18, began research that led him to be interested in the philosophy of other religions, including Islam.
My family is a practicing Christian. We went to church on Sundays and I know the Bible, but at some point I wanted to figure out for myself what I was praising.
< p>The native Togolese, established in Quebec for 15 years, compares the sacrifice represented by the Ramadan fast to that represented by Christian Lent, which he experienced during his youth. “It takes some effort and discipline, but it's going really well for me. I go to school full time and I have no problem [getting through my days].”
Being the only one practicing Islam in his family, Giovani doesn does not have the opportunity to share a big meal with other people on Ramadan evenings to celebrate, as is the custom in many Muslim families.
“I would have liked to share a big meal with my family, but since they are Christian, I rather do things on my own…”
Becoming a better person
22-year-old Montrealer Ariel Damodio grew up in a Catholic family, but his parents gave him the freedom to choose his convictions, says the young man of Dominican, Argentinean and Italian origin.
He has chosen to adopt the Islamic religion for a few months, and maintains that the exercise of the Ramadan fast is not only underpinned by religious reasons.
Fasting is good for the body because it helps to [eliminate] bad cells. It provides physical, but also psychological and emotional well-being.
The young man explains that one of the goals of Ramadan is to “put yourself in the place of people who are in need and cannot eat freely.”
Ariel finds that Ramadan makes him humble, and he appreciates the discipline that Islam brings to his life. “It put me on a good path in life and helped me become a better person.”
He says he chose to become a Muslim because of the positive influence one of his friends has had on him in recent years. “His discipline and his wisdom always inspired me, and I found that it mainly came from his religion. He is a good mentor to me.”
This script was produced as part of the Local Journalism Initiative.