Ramadan occurs in the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. It begins and ends with the appearance of the crescent moon. Due to the fact that the Muslim calendar is shorter than the Gregorian calendar, Ramadan begins 10 to 12 days earlier each year. This changing date allows Ramadan to occur in every season, over a 33-year cycle.

Ramadan is a time of fasting, prayer, reflection, and community bonding. This year, Ramadan takes place between March 10th and April 9th.

Fasting occurs between dawn and dusk. Fasting cultivates self-discipline, self-control, and empathy for those less fortunate. It is a time to focus on spiritual nourishment rather than physical desires. Fasting also fosters a sense of unity among Muslims worldwide.

Ramadan is also a time of increased worship and prayer, a time for increased charitable giving, it’s a time to seek forgiveness ands repent, and it’s a time to focus on self-reflection and personal growth.

Ramadan at CHV

Having a sense of home, and a safe space to express who you are, is different for everyone. It can include any combination of elements such as: a sense of community, food, and a celebration of beliefs.

Working with the frontline team, and other departments, Kadee, Lead Spiritual Care Practitioner at CHV, strives to meet the needs of every youth who expresses a desire to connect, or stay connected, to their beliefs and community.

Between our Rights of Passage program and our Crisis Program, there are 22 youth at CHV who are participating in Ramadan, this year.

Among them is ObQa, a youth in the Crisis Program, who was kind enough to share what Ramadan means to them.

“To me, Ramadan represents a period of heightened awareness of my connection to God, a time to cleanse my soul, and renew my commitment to living a life guided by compassion, empathy, and gratitude. It’s a time to pause and reflect on the blessings in my life, to remember those less fortunate, and to actively seek ways to contribute positively to my community.

Ramadan is not just about fasting; it’s about fostering a sense of empathy and solidarity with those who are hungry or in need. Through fasting, I am reminded of the importance of self-discipline and restraint, qualities that extend beyond the physical act of abstaining from food and drink to encompass all aspects of my life.

Moreover, Ramadan serves as a time for self-improvement and personal growth. It challenges me to confront my weaknesses, strive for self-improvement, and cultivate a stronger sense of inner peace and spiritual fulfillment.

Ultimately, Ramadan is a deeply meaningful and transformative experience that strengthens my faith, renews my sense of purpose, and inspires me to strive for excellence in all aspects of my life. It is a sacred time that fills my heart with gratitude, humility, and a profound sense of connection to God and humanity.”

Kadee shares her thoughts about the importance of celebrating holidays at CHV: “I’ve discovered two things: one is that it’s really encouraging to the youth and staff from the communities where those holidays originated from, to see that they are normalized and celebrated; and secondly, it’s a great opportunity for all of us to reflect on what the holidays and traditions are that we have, where they come from, and why we celebrate them.”

Kadee shared some final thoughts on the importance of cultural celebrations: “I think there’s this myth that if a youth ends up homeless, it’s because they have nothing. In some ways that’s true — they don’t have a home. But it’s not that they don’t have strengths or resources that they draw on, in spite of their homelessness. And for a lot of our youth, their faith, their beliefs, their spiritual practices are what have helped them to survive.

One of the things that we know, particularly about addiction, is that a lot of addiction comes from loss of connection and feeling like you’re completely on your own. And what I think faith and spirituality offers them [youth] is a reminder that they’re not alone and that they’re connected; whether it’s connected to the universe itself or connected to higher power or connected to a community, whether it’s the natural world or another community of faith, that they’re not on their own, that someone cares about them. And I think that’s incredibly important for the youth that we serve to know.”