Metro Manila · Ramadan in the Philippines
Ramadan, the 9th and most sacred month of the Islamic Calendar, started after sunset on July 6, 2016. Like their fellow believers around the globe, Filipino Muslims are celebrating it with fasting, prayers, and contemplation. Ramadan will end on July 6 with a big feast during Eid-Al Fitr.
For one month Muslims are fasting during the day, meaning they abstain from eating and drinking until dawn. Before sunset they meet for a pre-fast meal and after sunset they gather again for the Iftar, the daily fast-breaking meal. The Iftar often takes place as a social events, with a big buffet and traditional meals. In Metro Manila, several embassies of islamic countries are inviting to a free Iftar every evening. At the same time it is very common to spend Iftar with the whole big family at home, as Ramadan is also a month of family bonding.
According to the Quran, the holy book of Islam, itself was revealed to the prophet Muhammad in Ramadan. The month is therefore a yearly period of worship and spiritual reflection.
Ramadan is concluded with the Sugar Feast, Eid-Al Fitr. The Philippines is the only Christian country in the world that has recognized Eid-Al Fitr as a holiday, to promote peace and harmony. As the exact date of Eid-al Fitr depends on moon sightings and is only being announced shortly in advance, it is not a regular holiday but needs to be declared a special non-working day by the President each time. Newly inaugurated President Rodrigo Duterte just declared July 6 as such a non-working day.
An estimated 5 to 9 percent of the Philippine population are Muslim, which accounts to roughly 5 to 9 Million people. The majority lives in Mindanao and nearby islands in the southern part of the Philippines. The Islamic faith had reached the archipelago in the 13th century through Arabian traders from present-day Malaysia and Indonesia.