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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Iran Series at PersianPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Iranian holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 4, Ramadan. In Persian, it’s called Ramezaan.
Have you ever heard Persians speak of “The Month of God's Banquet,” a month in which the doors of the Heavens open and the doors of Hell close? This month is referred to as Ramadan, or the ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar.
In this lesson, you will learn about how during the month of Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating or drinking from dawn to dusk to devote more attention to prayers and doing good deeds.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
What is special about the 19th and 21st days of Ramadan?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
It is well known that Ramadan is a month during which Muslims fast, or roozeh. Fasting lasts from sunrise to sunset. Muslims do this in order to refrain from acts that divert their attention away from God, which includes eating, drinking, and satisfying material and carnal needs. Instead, they pray, or namaaz khaandan, and increase their awareness of the good deeds they can do in their community, such as helping the needy and letting go of resentments. It is said that during this month, those who seek forgiveness from God, or khodaa, for their sins will be bestowed with compassion and blessings, and their prayers will be answered.
During Ramadan, only two meals can be eaten a day—Sahari and Eftari. Sahari is eaten every morning before the morning prayer and sunrise, and Eftari is eaten every evening after the sun has set and prayers are said. For Sahari, simple, highly nutritious foods such as rice are consumed so that the body does not suffer from lack of energy during the day. Eftari is also comprised of very simple foods such as dates, tea, bread, and cheese. Having soup or Haleem, which is a kind of a stew that includes wheat, barley, lentils and meat is also common.
During the month of Ramadan the holy nights also take place, referred to as the Nights of Destiny, or shabhaaye ghadr. During these nights, Muslims stay awake until morning praying continuously. These nights are special because they mark a number of religiously important historic dates. The first is the night in which the Quran, the holy book of Muslims, was revealed to the Prophet of Islam. Another is the night during which angels appeared and made clear the destiny of human beings for the following year, bestowing God's mercy and bounty upon his servants. Therefore, it is said that worshipping and staying awake during each of these nights is as precious as praying for more than 1,000 months.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
What is special about the 19th and 21st days of Ramadan?
On the 19th day, Emam Ali, the first Imam of Shia Muslims was struck down with a great blow while praying in a mosque, and on the 21st he succumbed to his injuries, thereby becoming a martyr. These days are regarded as public mourning days all around the country.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
What is fasting like in your country? Do you ever fast too, and if so, why?
Leave us a comment telling us at PersianPod101.com!
And I’ll see you in the next lesson!