Georgian leaders congratulate Muslims as Ramadan begins

Mosque and Turkish bath in old Tbilisi. Photo by: Frans Sellies; Flickr, 28 Jun 2014 - 23:50, Tbilisi,Georgia

The President of Georgia and the country’s Prime Minister are congratulating the Muslim population in Georgia who are beginning Ramadan - a strict month-long fast where nothing can be eaten within sunlight hours.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili released a special statement wishing Muslims in Georgia wealth, longevity, success, and peace of mind as they embark on a month of dedicated fasting.

"The holy month of Ramadan is one of the main pillars of your faith and I want you to [embrace Ramadan] with dignity, faith and patience. You have made a very significant contribution to the building of our homeland. Your ancient and unique culture and traditions are the wealth of our country and integral part of its diversity,” President Margvelashvili wrote.

Ramadan takes place each year and takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is a time of deep reflection for Muslims worldwide, who all observe a month of intense fasting.

In Prime Minister Garibashvili’s open letter, he wished peace, health, and happiness to the Muslim population as they began Ramadan.

"The holy month of Ramadan is very special and important to each and every Muslim.”

He wished the Muslim population peace of mind and longevity.

"I believe each of you contribute to the progress of our country and we all will live together in a united and strong Georgia.

Ramadan is an annual observance and is regarded as one of the five Pillars of Islam. The fasting period lasts 29 to 30 days, based on visual sightings of the crescent moon.

Muslims, and people living in Muslim countries, fast from dawn until sunset. Muslims are forbidden to consume food and water while the sun is up and can only eat before sunrise and after sunset.

Fasting for Muslims during Ramadan typically includes increased offering of prayers and recitation of the Quran. The spiritual discipline is meant to train the human soul in deeper mindfulness and self-restraint.