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Ramadan: Why Muslims across Wales are fasting this month

Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

This week thousands of Muslims in Wales began observing Ramadan - the holiest month in the Islamic calendar.

In Wales alone, there is an estimated 46,000 thousand Muslims who will be taking part.

Yousra and her daughters are one of the many families fasting this month. She says it's an opportunity for her and her family to to 'better' themselves:

We tend to go all out, decorate, sort of like Christmas for Christians. We pray together, we call our families. We need to give charity so anything we're not using we give away. it's a perfect opportunity for us to cleanse our souls and better ourselves, and stop any bad habits.

It's about doing more good acts towards our neighbours, giving them dates and little goodie bags of foods so they can taste our culture and religion.''

– Yousra Elsadig

What is Ramadan?

It's the ninth month in the Muslim lunar calendar which means that the date is not set - it changes every year depending on the sighting of a new moon.

Healthy Muslims fast from dusk till dawn, this means no food and no water. Instead they are encouraged to refocus their energy towards worship, prayer, and generosity.

Other acts of such as reading the Quran are also encouraged during the holy month.

On top of the five daily prayer, a nightly prayer, called Tarawih, takes place after the breaking of the fast. This can be done in the mosque or at home.

Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Although children, pregnant women, the elderly and those who are on regular medication do not need to fast, many choose to take the opportunity to re evaluate their priorities.

According to the Charity Commission, British Muslim charities raise £100 million during the month of Ramadan alone. That's equivalent to each British Muslim donating £371 per year.

When do Muslims break their fast?

Suhoor is eaten just before sunrise - it is the last meal before Muslims start their fast.

In the UK Muslims fast for around 15 hours a day from sunrise to sunset.

People of many different cultures and ethnicities practice the Muslim faith and observe Ramadan, and with it comes many variations of traditional food.

Food such as somosas and lentil puddings are eaten to break the fast during the evening meal at sunset called Iftar.