Amid prayer and penance, Ramadan begins in Kashmir

 holy month of RamadanSrinagar: The holy month of Ramadan started here today as Muslims thronged mosques for morning prayers after beginning their day-long fast.

According to Muslim faith, Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, represents the 30-day period of fasting during which those who engage in prayer and penance are pardoned by Allah.

In summer capital Srinagar, all the eateries including hotels, restaurants, tea-stalls and dhabas remained closed since morning and markets and streets witnessed less traffic movement.

Locals engaged in hectic buying of fruits, juices, foodstuffs Wednesday to stock for the holy month during which Muslims find less time for shopping due to religious engagements.

The most sought after fruit in the markets Thursday are dates which come here from different parts of the country and also the Middle East.

Due to middle class affluence, which is a relatively recent phenomenon in Kashmir, many people are buying dates from Saudi Arabia, fruit juices and jams from multi-national companies and even the imported brands.

“I have bought black berry jam, Saudi dates and some fruit juices and milk creams for the family. These things are needed at ‘Iftaar’ time when the day-long fast is broken,” said a shopper at one of Srinagar’s high end departmental stores.

Even the less privileged locals spend comparatively more during this month to provide nourishment to their families.

“One has to spend a little more during this month on fruits, juices and foodstuffs. After all, one has to ensure that food is healthy and tasty to sustain the long fasting hours,” said Feroze Ahmad, 45, a resident of Srinagar.

As Ramadan started here Thursday the fasting period is around 16 hours. The ‘Sehrai’ (Dawn eating time before the fast is begun) ended at 3.46 a.m. Thursday and the fast will be broken at 7.48 p.m.

The Muslim calendar advances by 10 days every year in comparison to the Christian calendar which remains unchanged.

It is because of this difference that the Holy month of Ramadan falls some years in the colder winter months and some years in the hotter summer months.

Ramadan which began here July 11 this year will begin around July 1 next year.

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