SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – Prayer filled the air in West Springfield Sunday, as thousands of Muslims marked the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Ramadan is a month of spiritual reflection, charitable giving, and fasting for Muslims around the world.
Asma Kareem of South Hadley explained to 22News the significance of the month. “Ramadan is a month where the holy book was given to the prophet Muhammad,” she said.
Kareem invited 22News inside her family’s home on Eid al-Fitr, a holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, and the end of fasting. The day begins with a prayer service, and ends with a celebration.
Following the Congregational prayer, community members come together to celebrate Eid al-Fitr by eating together and exchanging gifts, a celebration that can last for up to three days.
Asma said it’s similar to holidays celebrated by various other religions. “It’s very special to get together, it’s like a Christmas,” she said.
Ramadan also shares another similarity with Christmas. Zubair Kareem told 22News, throughout the month, Muslims are reminded to be generous and increase their charitable activities by donating to those in need. “The purpose of this charity is special. So you give money, and that’s given to those people who are celebrating this occasion, but can’t afford certain things, like toys and food,” he said.
This year, most of the money raised by the Muslim community in western Massachusetts will be distributed to refugee families.