Ramadan will begin Monday, marking the start of the holy month for Muslims, who are expected to fast and practice abstinence from dawn until sunset.

The month of fasting was officially announced in Muslim countries to begin on Monday worldwide. Ramadan is held yearly during the ninth months of the Islamic calendar after the sighting of the new moon, which occurred on Saturday evening, and lasts for 29 to 30 days until the next new moon appears.

The purpose of Ramadan is to focus on spirituality, praying more often and withholding any acts of violence during the fast. All Muslims across the world are expected to participate, with the exception of the elderly, sick and pregnant.

As one of the five pillars of Islam, Muslims are expected to refrain from food and drink and abstain from smoking and sex each day during the celebration from dawn to dusk. The breaking of the fast, or iftaar, begins at dusk by eating dates.  Some Muslims have slightly different variations and have broader definitions of practices during Ramadan.

The month-long fasting marks the anniversary of the Quran being revealed to the Prophet Mohammed. Ramadan commences annually with a celebration called Eid al-Fitr, comprised of feasting and prayer.