06/03/2015 07:02 EDT | Updated 06/03/2015 07:59 EDT

When Is Ramadan In 2015?

Muslims all over the world are preparing for the start of Ramadan, a month-long period of fasting and reflection.

Beginning, on June 18, 2015, followers of Islam will fast during daylight hours before breaking the activity with a meal known as the iftar, which takes place after sunset. This meal commonly includes foods such as lentils and chickpeas.

The purpose of fasting is to help Muslims develop a closer relationship with Allah, says the Islamic Foundation of Toronto.

It is a way of improving followers' moral character, and it also gives them a sense of spiritual renewal.

"During fasting we learn how to say 'no' to things that are otherwise permissible and good, but are forbidden during fasting," the foundation says.

"When one learns how to say 'no' to that which is generally permissible, then one can easily control oneself to avoid that which is forbidden."

But Ramadan isn't just about food. Muslims also partake in charitable activities, such as raising money, donating clothes, and organizing iftar for the less fortunate.

The fasting period will last until July 17 this year, at which time Muslims will celebrate Eid-al-Fitr by meeting friends, eating food and celebrating.

Here's how Muslims marked Ramadan around the world last year:

Photo gallery Ramadan 2014 See Gallery