Sondos Kholaki, an 18-year-old Muslim freshman at the University of California, Irvine, is celebrating the month of Ramadan and sharing her journal--which she calls 'Babbers'--with Beliefnet. Check out her earlier entries (to the right), in which she writes about what Ramadan is and what it means to her, and shares her resolutions. If you have a question or comment for Sondos, feel free to e-mail us at feedback@staff.beliefnet.com.

Dear Babbers-

Well, the days are dwindling down to the final couple of hours of Ramadan. Although this past week has been the hardest of all, I have to say that I'm sad to see Ramadan go. This month has changed me for the better. Since I've been off of school for almost the entire month of Ramadan, I've had the rare opportunity to attend mosque every night for taraweeh prayer, and breaking fast with my family and friends.Sure, I'll get to go back to my six meals a day, but the beauty of Ramadan will be missed. The end of Ramadan always turns my frown into a smile! It means Eid-ul-Fitr, the three day celebration of breaking fast, has arrived. I always described Eid as the "Muslim Christmas" to my Catholic friends in high school--it's a day full of great food, presents, family get-togethers, and visiting friends. This year, Eid falls on Wednesday, December 27th. There are two Eid celebrations in a year-- the second Eid, called Eid ul-Adha, comes a couple of months after Ramadan and celebrates the Hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims are required to do according to the Five Pillars of faith-devotional acts required of all Muslims Eid in my family has been the same since I was a little girl and I never want it to change because it's a special tradition. My family's Eid schedule is also the same as many of my friends', which makes it all the more special.
Because there is no way of really capturing the excitement and fun of Eid, let's go back and pretend again! It's about 2 a.m. Wednesday morning. You've been lying in your bed for about two hours, but can't seem to fall asleep. You lie awake, watching the clock and wishing you could speed up time. Suddenly, you hear some rustling outside your door, and you quickly fake sleep just as your father attempts to quietly bring a plastic bag (yes, father, plastic does make a lot of noise!) full of presents into your room. When he leaves, you sneak out of bed and open the bag, trying to figure out what gifts you got this year and which ones you 'll have to hope fornext Eid. Satisfied with what you find, you crawl back into bed and close your eyes for a couple hours of sleep. Around five in the morning, the alarm clock rings and you jump out of bed and wake everyone up. After thanking your parents for the gifts left at the foot of your bed, you get dressed in your finest clothes and hop into the car to go to prayer. After prayer, there is a carnival-type area where candy flows unlimited and you get to meet up with friends you haven't seen in a long time. Usually after all this, it's about 10 or 11 in the morning and you go out with some families to breakfast. Then it's back home to play with toys, to sleep, relax, etc. Then at six in the evening, you get dressed up again and and head to the house of a generous Muslim family who opens their beautiful home to the entire community for a catered dinner. You see all your friends and the fun goes well into the night when everyone finally drives back home, exhausted but very happy. Well, Babbers, the end of Ramadan means one more thing-the end of these journal entries. I have to say that I've had a wonderful time sharing my experiences and thoughts with you, and I'm going to miss you. Eid Mubarak (Happy Eid) and Happy New Year.I'm out!


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