By David Schuman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Sunday marked a rare intersection of three major religious holidays: Easter, Passover and Ramadan. Each is marked with is own history, traditions and foods.

Ramadan commemorates the revelation of the Quran to Muhammad.

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“It’s just a blessed month,” said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of Minnesota’s Council on American-Islamic Relations. “It’s not hard for us who’ve been fasting. We actually just enjoy everything, not just the not eating part. It’s really about bonding and coming together as a community.”

Muslims don’t eat or drink from dawn to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan. Perhaps counterintuitively though, it’s the busiest time of the year for the Holy Land grocery store and restaurant in northeast Minneapolis.

“Everyone is like fasting the whole day. They’re just craving stuff, you know, and getting, buying food,” said Saeed Wadi, Holy Land’s general manager.

Salah Nur was shopping Sunday. He said Ramadan is a time to reconnect with family and with God.

(credit: CBS)

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“It has tremendous spiritual meaning,” Nur said.

“You don’t eat, you don’t drink, so you understand what it’s like to be hungry, what it’s like to be thirsty,” Minneapolis resident Naasir Akailvi said. “And in turn that’s supposed to raise your compassion to others who are hungry and who are thirsty all the time.”

Wadi says it’s like a spiritual cleansing and a fast for the soul. And shoppers’ donations for the store’s charitable giving always increases this time of year.

“I have more energy when I’m fasting then the days that I’m eating, you know, so I love it,” Wadi said. “This is my favorite month of the year.”

Akailvi says the fast is about mind over matter.

“You think about why you’re doing it. You think you’re doing this to kind of grow your understanding,” Akailvi said. “In Ramadan, you kind of have this month where you can really focus on giving back to people.”

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There’s also Eid to look forward to, the celebration marking the end of Ramadan. With festivals and feasting, some say it’s like Muslim Christmas.

David Schuman