Here’s how Cardiff students celebrated Ramadan 2023

Raman is over and Cardiff students told us why it was special to them

Ramadan is the holiest month of the year for Muslims. It is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and Muslims fast from dawn until sunset.

Whilst many spent Ramadan at home with their families, some students stayed in Cardiff whilst fasting while preparing for their exams.

Yaser, a first-year PhD student from Jordan said: “Back in Jordan, we would volunteer for the community program where we cooked meals and distributed them to the less fortunate. The experience was incredibly fulfilling as we had the opportunity to come together with other volunteers and contribute towards a good cause. It was heart-warming to see the smiles of those who received the food, and knowing that we positively impacted their lives.”

Ramadan is all about giving and it makes you grateful for your life. It is also said that no one goes hungry during Ramadan as people love to share food with relatives and the less fortunate. 

Yaser added: “The initial period of fasting, usually lasts between five to ten days, can be challenging as the body relies on food and liquids for energy. However, as the body adjusts, fasting becomes more of a mindset or attitude.”

I encountered my initial experience of Ramadan in 2018 in the UK. Since it was in summer, the fasting period lasted more than 18 hours, making it the most extended period to fast. However, as each year passes, Ramadan becomes more manageable, with the fasting period gets reduced by 10 days and the number of fasting hours decreasing to less than 15.

He added: As a student, I struggled to manage my study during Ramadan. Hence, I had to devote most of my daytime to rest, meal preparation for Iftar (the fast-breaking evening meal) and utilising the night after Iftar to focus on my degree. However, as each year passes, Ramadan becomes more manageable.

Yaser said, Every Ramadan my family and extended family cooked together. I fondly remember this one sweet dish called Qatayef. Since I live with my brother we make sure that we make it, even if the whole family is not here as making this makes me miss home a little less.

Omar Mussa, a PhD in computer science student at Cardiff University who is originally from Saudi Arabia said:  “One thing I missed from back home is visiting traditional markets which we had during Ramadan. We had several stalls of food, shopping, and accessories and would go with our family and friends.”

He added: “Ramadan looks difficult to non-Muslims and I have seen empathy from non-Muslim friends. But, we love and enjoy this month and look forward to it. It is difficult for sure, especially when you are away from home, but for me, fasting was not the hard part, managing my schedule was. Focusing on studies with an empty stomach is a bit challenging.”

Omar has had a chance to witness this holy month in other countries like the USA but he thinks that the spirit of community can be felt more in the UK. He noted: “The mosque and having a large Muslim community in addition to having many halal food places made it easier for me compared to other places I have lived in.”