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Photos: Holy month of Ramadan begins for Muslims around the world


The Islamic holy month of Ramadan began at sunset on Wednesday, as the faithful prepared for a month of fasting from sunrise to sunset, designed to bring them closer to God and remind them of the suffering of the less fortunate.

For the next 30 days, Muslims are not allowed to eat or drink anything from sunrise to sunset.

Many adhere strictly to the prayers, read the Quran and donate to charity to get closer to God. Family and friends gather for joyous late-night parties.

Muslims believe that God began revealing the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad over 1400 years ago during Ramadan.

Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is obligatory for all Muslims, although exceptions are made for young children and the sick, as well as for women who are pregnant, nursing or menstruating. Travelers are also exempt, including athletes attending tournaments away from home.

Those who fast must refrain from eating, drinking and smoking from sunrise to sunset. They are also encouraged to refrain from cursing, fighting, gossip and road rage during the holy month.

After the last day of fasting, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr, a festive three-day holiday in which children dress up in new outfits and receive presents.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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