Ramadan is a religious observance that takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic lunar year (this year, it begins September 13 and ends October 12). The holy month commemorates the period when the Koran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed.
During Ramadan, Moslems around the world are obligated to pray, perform charitible acts, focus less on material concerns and spend more time in spiritual contemplation. From sunup to sundown, they must refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and intimate relations.
Throughout the month, breakfast is eaten before dawn and large meals, often featuring special foods, are consumed at night. At the end of Ramadan, Moslems celebrate Eid ul Fitr, a joyous holiday that marks the breaking of the fast.
In non-Moslem countries, the observance of Ramadan usually occurs in a low-key, unobtrusive manner. But, in New York City, if you know where to look, you will see the signs of the faithful.