Symbols of Ramadan: What is the Meaning and Origin

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The symbols of ramadan, crescent moon and stars, in a mall in Kuala Lumpur

Have you ever noticed the various prominent symbols that appear during Ramadan? If you’ve observed this sacred holiday, you might’ve seen symbols like the crescent moon and star, mosques, and colorful lanterns everywhere.

These symbols represent the traditions associated with Ramadan and hold a significant cultural and religious meaning. Understanding the meaning and origin of the symbols of Ramadan can enrich your Ramadan experience, whether you’re a Muslim or not, and foster a deeper appreciation for the holy month.

If you stick around until the end, we’ll tell you all about the symbols of Ramadan, their meaning, and their origin.

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What is Ramadan? 

In the islamic world, Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is considered an important month because Muslims believe it’s when the Quran was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad. It’s a month-long celebration of fasting, renewal, and spiritual development observed by Muslims (and non-Muslims) everywhere.

Ramadan is a sacred time in the Muslim world. It’s a time for Muslims to strengthen their faith through increased devotion and worship by attending mosques and reciting daily prayers. One of its main purposes is to develop empathy for the needy and practice self-discipline through fasting, which means abstaining from eating food, drinking liquids, engaging in sexual activity, and more. After a day of fasting, families and friends come together for Iftar to eat, give thanks to Allah, and nurture their sense of community.

TIP: Click here to read our Ramadan Guide for celebrating Ramadan in Kuala Lumpur

When is Ramadan in 2024?

This 2024, the Holy month of Ramadan starts in the evening of Monday, March 11 and ends with Eid Mubarak on Tuesday, April 9. 

Is Idul Fitri a Public Holiday in Malaysia? 

Yes, Eid al-Fitr (and Eid Adha) are public holidays in Malaysia.

TIP: Click here to learn more about public holidays in Malaysia

A mosque in Kuala Lumpur on an early morning before sunrise

What Are The Most Commonly Used Symbols of Ramadan?

Here are the symbols commonly associated with Ramadan. You may see them as Ramadan decorations in households, mosques, Muslim communities, and even malls when they’re holding an event for Ramadan.

Crescent moon and star symbols

The crescent moon and star is a significant symbol in Islam. You might’ve seen the symbol in the flags of many Islamic or Muslim countries like Pakistan, Turkey, and Algeria.

During Ramadan, this symbol signifies the beginning of fasting. It serves as a reminder of the significance of the holy month.

Additionally, the symbol did not originate from Islam. It was only adopted as the symbol of Islam when the Ottoman Empire ruled Muslims.

While it’s a prominent symbol during Ramadan, not all Muslims consider the crescent moon the symbol of the Islamic faith.

Ramadan lanterns

As Ramadan approaches, you can see the streets of Muslim communities light up and adorned with colorful Ramadan lanterns. Also called Fanous, which originated from the Greek word “phanós” and was adopted into the Egyptian Arabic word “fanoos”, meaning light or lantern.

Fanous lanterns have become an important symbol of Ramadan for hundreds of years. An arabic lantern can hang from the doors, windows, streets, and alleyways to represent the transition from darkness to light, adding a vibrant and colorful atmosphere to the celebration of the holy month.

Islamic ornaments

Islamic ornaments are usually found in art, such as greeting cards or gifts wrapped with Islamic geometric patterns or calligraphy, and in architecture in Muslim households and mosques. The five main Islamic ornaments are geometric patterns, calligraphy, floral patterns, animal motifs, and architectural motifs.

Each has a certain decorative and aesthetic value and deep symbolic meaning. For example, geometric patterns represent infinity and the eternal nature of God and His creation, the universe. Meanwhile, calligraphy is a form of artistic expression through decorative text. Most of these symbols blend harmoniously with various Islamic art and architecture, a brilliant way to show the heritage of Islamic culture through aesthetic and meaningful elements.

Gold Islamic pattern

The gold Islamic pattern you see in many Ramadan decorations or sometimes in social media posts is mainly for aesthetic purposes. Most gold Islamic patterns also incorporate geometric patterns or other Ramadan symbols like the crescent moon and stars, mosques, and Fanous lanterns.

Quran

The Quran is the holy book of Islam and a universal symbol for Muslims worldwide. Its scriptures contain teachings of Allah that serve as guidance for Muslims in their spiritual journey. One of the traditions of Ramadan is to recite verses from the Quran daily. This practice is said to purify the hearts of those who recite it and bring them multiple rewards.

Mosques

Mosques are sacred places where Muslims pray, read the Quran, seek spiritual guidance, and gather to worship. They symbolize community as Muslims unite and bond through faith.

Prayer rug

Muslims use prayer rugs for their daily prayers and worship. It is a significant reminder of the importance of prayer, especially during Ramadan. A prayer rug marks a sacred place of worship for Muslims, whether at a mosque or at their home.

Which Colors Are Associated With Ramadan?

While Ramadan has no single, designated color, there are certain colors that are associated with Ramadan.

Ramadan colorful decoration in a KL Mall

Gold

Gold symbolizes wealth (spiritual richness and prosperity), enlightenment, and the radiance of divine light. This color is frequently seen in Ramadan decorations, mosques, and homes.

Green

Green is frequently used to represent Islam. It is thought to have been a favorite color of the Prophet Muhammad. In Islamic tradition, it is also associated with paradise. Green symbolizes the growth and spiritual renewal of Muslims during the holy month as they devote themselves entirely to Allah through increased worship, acts of kindness and generosity, and self-reflection.

Blue

Blue can symbolize spirituality and immensity, often reflecting the vastness of the sky and the universe. It can also symbolize Allah’s unfathomable compassion and mercifulness. Blue gives a feeling of serenity and calmness, which is significant at times of prayer and reflection.

White

White represents purity and peace, key aspects of the spiritual cleansing during Ramadan. White is also used in attire to symbolize the spiritual rebirth of Muslims as they continue to engage in Islamic traditions of prayer and worship.

Black

Although less common in festive decorations, black is often used in attire and can represent strength and authority.

Red

While not as common as the others, red represents passion and devotion to the holy month. It also adds warmth to the festive celebrations when used as decorations or attire.

During Ramadan, these colors are often used in Islamic designs, decorations, clothing, and art to create a festive and reflective environment.

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Final Thoughts on Colors and Symbols of Ramadan

As you observe the holy month, it’s important to realize that the symbols of Ramadan carry profound meaning and rich heritage. Each emblem embodies the essence of this sacred month, from the crescent moon and lanterns to the Quran and prayer rugs. Delving into their significance enriches the understanding of Ramadan and fosters a deeper appreciation for its cultural and religious meaning. As we immerse ourselves in Ramadan’s colors, traditions, and symbols, let us embrace the unity they inspire and the spiritual journey they illuminate, regardless of our faith.

Ramadan Kareem and we wish the Muslim community a wonderful Hari Raya Celebration. 


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About Marlieke Kemp-Janssen:

Marlieke is the mom of a four-year-old girl and, together with daddy, they love living in and exploring Kuala Lumpur. As well as being the founder of Kuala Lumpur with Kids, Marlieke is a digital marketing consultant who has helped small businesses grow through her company Aureum Hospitality Advisers.

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