Your Guide to Ramadan in Parramatta
Ramadan is a holy month of fasting and spiritual reflection for Muslims around the world. Find out how you can take part in Ramadan in Parramatta this year.
Ramadan is the holy month of fasting, spiritual reflection, and worship for Muslims all around the world. Celebrated as a time for introspection, devotion, and self-improvement, Ramadan is an important month for Muslims connecting with their faith.
This year’s Ramadan takes place between 22 March 2023 and 21 April 2023. If you are a Muslim preparing for Ramadan or a Parramatta local looking to partake in the holy month of fasting, you’ve come to the right place.
No matter your background or culture, Parramatta welcomes all members of the Muslim community. This blog can help guide you to taking part in Ramadan in Parramatta. Keep reading to find out more.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar and is known as the holy month of fasting. Every day during the month, Muslims practise fasting from dawn to sunset as a way of showing spiritual discipline and trust in Allah. It is believed that fasting (food and liquids) and abstaining from regular activities such as smoking, drinking, and sexual acts will allow Muslims to better appreciate the daily gifts and pleasures from Allah.
Ramadan is based on one of the pillars of Islam - sawn (to refrain) - and is seen as a time of self-restraint. Not only does this encompass foods, but it also involves the broader individual’s lifestyle and thoughts. Muslims practise cleansing impure or unkind thoughts during Ramadan.
A day in Ramadan ends with a sunset prayer and a break in fasting, where Muslims will gather for a meal called ifṭār. Additional prayers called the tawarīḥ prayers can also be offered at night in a Mosque, and performed in congregation.
A large part of celebrating Ramadan is devoting extra energy and time to spiritual activities, such as praying and reading the Quran.
Parramatta Mosque is a great place to pray and enjoy a sense of community during Ramadan. Parramatta Mosque offers a wide range of services dedicated to worshipping Allah, including daily prayers, Jummah prayers, Eid prayers, and other community events. You can partake in any or all of Parramatta Mosque’s services during Ramadan and follow the practices (Hadiths) of Prophet Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him).
English speakers who are looking for a translation of the Quran can visit Parramatta Library. Parramatta Library owns several translated copies of the Quran that you can borrow to partake in Ramadan celebrations. Parramatta Mosque also offers general lessons including Quran memorisation during Ramadan.
Eid al-Fitr is a celebration held at the end of the Ramadan month by Muslims from all over the world. It is a time spent with family and friends to celebrate the breaking of fasting and to exchange gifts with family members and children.
Eid al-Fitr is a time of giving and is often celebrated with a grand meal, including foods native to different cultures. Sheer Khurma is a popular pudding prepared in India, Pakistan, and other south-east Asian countries, while Muslims from Lebanon enjoy traditional recipes such as Mouloukhiye.
No matter your cultural background, you can mark the end of Ramadan with an Eid al-Fitr celebration in Parramatta.
Traditional Ramadan Meals
Although Ramadan is widely known as a time of fasting, large, ceremonial meals are also enjoyed at the end of each day as a break from fasting. Many traditional Ramadan meals can be enjoyed during this time, especially among Muslims from different cultures and backgrounds.
One meal or snack that is universally enjoyed during Ramadan is dates. Traditionally, dates are eaten during Ramadan due to their nutritional benefits. Dates are high in sugar and vitamins such as potassium and magnesium. They are also a healthy source of fibre and carbohydrates.
You can find fresh and organic dates from Harris Park grocery stores. Harris Park Food Store, Patel Brothers Supermarket, and Radhe Wholesale & Retail are a couple of local supermarkets that sell dates for you to stock up on during Ramadan.
Lentil soup is one of the most commonly enjoyed meals during Ramadan in Lebanon. Simple to prepare and also incredibly nutritious, lentil soup is enjoyed especially during the colder nights of Ramadan. Lentil soup is best made with fresh produce, mostly with brown, red, yellow, green, or black lentils. Depending on your dietary preferences, you can also include meat or keep it vegetarian.
Other homemade soups such as chicken, vegetables, and vermicelli soup are also a staple during Ramadan.
Mezze is a type of appetiser usually served on a platter, containing various snacks and finger foods such as red capsicums, olives, cheeses, pickled vegetables, and fruits. It is also served with dips and spreads such as hummus, baba ganoush, and yogurt for a more flavourful side dish. Mezze is often added to grand, ceremonial Ramadan meals.
Fattoush is a “bread salad” originating from Northern Lebanon. It is a healthy vegetable dish to serve in Ramadan, made with lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, and tomatoes, as well as fried pieces of pita. A filling yet simple-to-make choice, Fattoush is commonly enjoyed in Ramadan and is a great addition to traditional meal times.
Tharid is a lamb stew most conveniently enjoyed during Ramadan due to its long preparation process in the daytime. It can be seasoned with almost all spices, from North African spice blends to Morrocan blends to Emirati. The stew is made by cooking lamb pieces in batches and adding onions, garlic, bay leaves, chilli, and ginger as the stew cooks. Potatoes, carrots, and zucchini can also be added for extra nutrition.
Due to fasting during the morning, it is important for Muslims to replenish liquids during the night. Drinks such as Jallab, Amar Al din, Erk el-sous and Tamarind are the most common choices during Ramadan.
Jallab is enjoyed as a refreshing juice, made by mixing grape molasses, dates, rose water, and sugar. It is smoked with Arabic incense and served cold with a variety of nuts as well as raisins. Amar Al din is another popular drink known for its bright orange colour and thick texture. It is a healthy drink made from dry apricot seeds, sugar, and rose water.
Erk el-sous is another commonly served drink during Ramadan. Mildly sweet and slightly bitter, this drink is made from liquorice roots. You can find liquorice and other spices from Green Valley Spices in Westfield Parramatta. The final common drink enjoyed during Ramadan is Tamarind. Tamarind is a sweet and sour drink made from tamarind fruit paste, sugar, and water.
Desserts and Arabic sweets can still be enjoyed during Ramadan. From Umm Ali to Zainab Fingers to Kunafeh to Rice pudding, there is a wide variety of sweets that Muslims can enjoy during their fasting break. Most desserts eaten during Ramadan are quite filling to help with fasting for the following morning. Rather than making desserts from scratch at home, you can also purchase sweets from Sweetland Patissiere in Harris Park for Ramadan.
Taking Part in Ramadan in Parramatta
As home to a diverse community, Parramatta is proud to support locals with their Ramadan celebrations. Parramatta Mosque is a great place for spiritual activities during Ramadan, and there are many food stores that sell fresh ingredients for traditional Ramadan meals in Parramatta. Spend Ramadan this year in Parramatta!