Observing: the moon and the month

Ramadan moon 1

This article from Al Jazeera explains how the timing of Ramadan is decided, and it’s surprisingly “analog”. Well, I guess it shouldn’t be surprising, as it’s an ancient observation.



I don’t mean to make light of this religious observation, which is one of the main pillars of Islam, but it does remind me a little of how cherry blossom season is decided. I don’t know the details (research topic, anyone?) but from what I can tell, one guy goes out to a certain park, looks at the blossoms and declares them to be in full bloom.

The article has some interesting visuals (reminder for your presentations and research project final products!):

Ramadan moon 3

Ramadan 4

Here’s an article from the NYT about Ramadan:

“The Right Way to Observe Ramadan”

And here’s an explainer from Vox:

“Ramadan 2016: 9 questions about the Muslim holy month you were too embarrassed to ask”

Something I didn’t know: during Ramadan, you’re not allowed to chew gum or take medicine, either (though people who are sick, pregnant women, children and the elderly are exempt from the fasting rules). But:

“Doing any of those things “invalidates” your fast for the day, and you just start over the next day. To make up for days you didn’t fast, you can either fast later in the year (either all at once or a day here and there) or provide a meal to a needy person for each day you missed.” (from the Vox explainer)


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