Festivals and events

A Guide to Ramadan’s Days of Restraint

As Ramadan kicks off for 1.8 billion Muslims around the world, here's an illustrated guide to Ramadan rules and etiquette

Lok Wong

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.

Well wishes

Use the greeting ‘Ramadan Mubarak’, which means ‘Have a blessed Ramadan’.

New moon

Ramadan always starts and ends with the appearance of the thinnest sliver of a crescent moon.

Heaven sent

Ramadan marks the Quran’s descent from heaven to earth.

Lok Wong

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.

Best behaviour

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.

Lok Wong

Sunrise‭, ‬sunset

Fasting is a major part of Ramadan, with eating and drinking – including medication – prohibited from dawn to sunset.

Purifying effect

Fasting is seen as a way to exercise self-control and cleanse the body, mind and spirit.

Stay cautious

Adult Muslims are required to fast during Ramadan, but there are exceptions, such as for people who are ill, elderly, travelling, pregnant or menstruating.

Fast forward

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.

Lok Wong

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.

Lets celebrate

Eid al-Fitr is the festival of breaking of the fast, a three-day celebration of gift giving, wearing new clothes and special prayers.

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