Freshman Julia Ramadan was born in the country of Jordan in the Middle East and lived there for seven years. During her time there, her favorite celebration was Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan, which is a holy month of fasting, prayer, and reflection. The dates of Ramadan change each year, and for 2022, it lasts from April 2 to May 2. Eid al-Fitr lasts May 2-3. Although it is often assumed that Eid al-Fitr is strictly a Muslim holiday, it is a universal celebration like Christmas and is considered less religious than Ramadan.
During Ramadan, those who are part of the Muslim faith are expected to fast from sunrise to sunset every day until the month is over. “[During] Ramadan in Jordan, it’s really frowned upon to eat in public in the daytime because everyone [who is fasting] is really hungry. Eating in front of them is rude and it’s almost like you’re mocking them. In the United States, since no one really follows that, I imagine it’d be harder for people who actually fast to not break their fast,” Ramadan said.
The moment people find out what day Eid is going to be, “everyone’s super excited and out buying decorations,” she said. For Eid al-Fitr, Ramadan’s family puts up lots of different lights, colored moons, and stars. In order to celebrate, there are huge parties filled with Arabic music and dancing. “There’s also really good food, too, but it isn’t a specific type of food. Everyone just makes what they want, and it’s always good,” she said.
Ramadan sees similarities between the attitudes towards Christmas in the United States and Eid al-Fitr in Jordan. Since Christmas is one of the most celebrated holidays in the United States, “Eid al-Fitr is pretty different here [in the United States], since not many people celebrate it. In Jordan, it’s sort of like Christmas. There’s a huge happy mood going around and you tell everyone you see, even if you don’t know them, Happy Eid,” Ramadan said.
Growing up in Jordan gave her a lot of cultural experience. “Everyone I met and the different schools I went to all played a role in what my personality is like today,” Ramadan said. Her time in Jordan has allowed her to experience different traditions in two countries on opposite sides of the world, giving her a special perspective and insight into the holidays.