Ramadan has come and gone and so have both Eids. Now it’s time to get ready for Islamic New Year this weekend! It is a time for celebration, commemoration and worship for Muslims all over the world. Many of us know that fasting and good deeds are encouraged especially around this blessed time of year, but what is it all about? People often have lots of questions about the significance of the Islamic new year, the month of Muharram and why we celebrate it in different ways, so here are three questions you might need an answer to when your mates get curious!
Why is the Islamic calendar STILL in the 15th century?
This new year will be the Hijri year of 1438!
The Islamic calendar started the year prophet Mohammed (PBUH) decided to leave Mecca and travel to Medina, also known as the Hijra. It has no connection to his birth or the birth of Islam, or even the beginning of the revelations. But the moment was important because it marked the beginning of the spread of Islam from Mecca.
Why do Ramadan, both Eids, Hajj and new year fall on different days every year?
As you know, the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar calendar, and so it is ever changing with the movement of the moon. This means that each month is counted according to the time it takes the moon to go around the earth, which is between 29 and 30 days. This is of course, unlike the Gregorian calendar which is fixed according to the movement of the earth around the sun.
So if your mates start wondering why you’ll soon be fasting in cooler weather, or why your new year’s eve is in October, here is your answer!
So, where is the party at?
Well, let’s just say that Islamic new year is celebrated a bit seriously. Some people might go to mosques for prayers, and families gather at home to reflect on the previous year and pray for the year ahead.
For Shia Muslims, Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar is remembered with sadness and mourning as they commemorate the battle of Karbala. This period ends on the 10th day of Muharram, called Ashura.
In some traditions, people also make a special dessert to share with family and friends called Ashura, deliciously made with rose water, dried fruits and nuts.
Got any more questions on Muharram or Islamic new year? Let us know!