According to the Office of National Statistics, there are now 3.9 million Muslims in England and Wales compared to 2.7 million in 2011 which is an increase of 44.44% in just over 10 years.
That’s 6.5% of the populous of England and Wales celebrating Ramadan this year.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic Calendar and is considered one of the holiest months.
Muslims will often celebrate this period by fasting.
Fasting is part of the five pillars of Islam and is a compulsory act, alongside faith, prayer, charity and pilgrimage during this period.
What is fasting?
People often believe that Muslims somehow have no food or drink whatsoever during Ramadan, however, this is not the case!
Many Muslims will have an early morning meal when they wake up before dawn which is known as Suhoor or Sehri.
Then Muslims will not eat or drink anything for the remainder of the day until sunset where they are allowed an evening meal known as Iftar or Fitoor.
Does every Muslim have to take part in fasting?
You are only expected to to partake in the fasting if you are in good health which means there are exemptions for certain groups of muslims such as:
- Children who haven’t reached puberty
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women
- Those who are too sick to not eat or drink
When is Ramadan?
The exact dates of Ramadan change every year due to yearly cycles.
This year, in 2023, we are already well underway during Ramadan – It started on 22 March 2023 and is set to end on 21 April 2023.
The UK isn’t a predominantly Muslim country, what are we doing to celebrate it?
For the first time ever, London is celebrating Ramadan by lighting up the West End and Oxford Street with Ramadan celebratory lighting. It’s very similar to the Christmas lights that are annually put up in the same place for the festive period.
Chelsea football club has also announced that it is to be the first Premier League club and stadium to light up their pitch in mark of Ramadan at Stamford Bridge.
Wembley Stadium landmarks are also expected to do the same.
Major supermarkets in the UK are also marking Ramadan, some may argue for the first time properly.
Supermarkets such as Asda and Morrisons have started an Islamic toy range from the Desi Doll Company, alongside Ramadan calendars.