Did you know…

Ramadan ended Wednesday, August 7th?  Ramadan is a 29-30 day period of religious fasting for Muslims all over the world.  Observing Muslims will fast from sunrise to sunset, refraining from any food or liquids.  “The whole family participates,” stated an Iraqi student in Citizenship class.  Ramadan is one of the 5 Pillars of Islam, along with confession of faith, prayer, alms giving and a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.  A Sudanese student who came to Sioux Falls in 2009 and has made the pilgrimage to Mecca three times had these thoughts to share about Ramadan this year: “A couple of days were hard, but then things were normal again.  You feel healthy and if you had stomach problems before…during Ramadan…you don’t.”  He added that one of the benefits of Ramadan is greater empathy.  “Now we know what the poor man feels like…how tired he must feel.  [Ramadan] makes you kinder.”

English classes at the Refugee and Immigration Center were quieter in Sioux Falls on Thursday, August 8th as the majority of Muslim students ended Ramadan by gathering in the morning at the Ramkota to pray and celebrate together.  Thursday and Friday were a time to visit the houses of family and friends and share meals and sweet treats.

Some sweet spiced cookies to mark the end of Ramadan.  Delicious!

Photo by Bernadette Simpson.
Some sweet spiced cookies to mark the end of Ramadan. Delicious!

Earlier in the month, LSS Refugee and Immigration direct-service staff teams participated in a training led by a fellow staff member in order to learn more about Islam and its practices like Ramadan.  “It was a good time to learn from each other,” said Associate Director Deb Worth.

Are you interested in cross-cultural experiences and learning more about your new neighbors?  Come volunteer at LSS Refugee and Immigration Center!

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