Count to nine
Ramadan is held in the ninth month of the Arabic lunar calendar, and each year it occurs about 11 days earlier than the previous year. In 2019, it runs from 6 May to 4 June.
Use the greeting ‘Ramadan Mubarak’, which means ‘Have a blessed Ramadan’.
Ramadan always starts and ends with the appearance of the thinnest sliver of a crescent moon.
Ramadan marks the Quran’s descent from heaven to earth.
A time to give
Good deeds are believed to be more rewarded during Ramadan than any other time, so the faithful often choose this month to give to charity.
Muslims also avoid lying, swearing, gossiping and other negative habits during Ramadan.
Dial it down
The United Arab Emirates has shortened work hours during Ramadan.
Let it glow
Lanterns and lights are often strung up on city streets to celebrate this period.
Fasting is a major part of Ramadan, with eating and drinking – including medication – prohibited from dawn to sunset.
Fasting is seen as a way to exercise self-control and cleanse the body, mind and spirit.
Adult Muslims are required to fast during Ramadan, but there are exceptions, such as for people who are ill, elderly, travelling, pregnant or menstruating.
Some individuals such as professional athletes might elect to skip the fasting. But all who skip the fast are meant to make up for it at a later date.
All about latitude
One’s location affects how long the fast must last due to differences in daylight hours.
As an outsider…
In terms of etiquette, it’s acceptable for non-Muslims to eat in front of those who are fasting – but best not to schedule work lunches.
End of the fast
Each day, the fast is broken by eating a few dates, followed by a meal.
Eid al-Fitr is the festival of breaking of the fast, a three-day celebration of gift giving, wearing new clothes and special prayers.