What is Ramadan?
It’s the Holy Month in the Islamic Calendar, when Muslims fast (also known as sawm) from sunrise to sunset for approximately 30 days.
Doing so is one of the five pillars of Islam.
The dates change annually as they’re determined by the sighting of a new moon. The start and end of Ramadan will be declared the day before it begins.
When is Ramadan?
It is expected to be on or around Tuesday 15 May to Thursday 14 June 2018.
When is Eid al-Fitr?
On or around Thursday 14 June to Sunday 17 June 2018
When is Eid al-Adha?
On or around Tuesday 21 August to Friday 24 August 2018
Can non-Muslims get involved?
Definitely. In the UAE, many iftar and suhoor events are set up as a way to bring the entire community together. Even if you haven’t been fasting, you are still welcome to join.
Here are a few other ways you can get involved…
• Exchange Ramadan greetings, especially at the beginning of the month. The word ‘Kareem’ in the phrase ‘Ramadan Kareem’ is the equivalent to ‘generous’, so the expression means (roughly) ‘Wish you generous Ramadan’.
• Get into the charitable spirit during the Holy Month by donating to Ramadan camps, care packages and other charity organisations.
• Fast along with your Muslim colleagues for a day or two and break the fast together at the time of iftar.
What is iftar and suhoor?
Iftar is the meal to break the fast after sunset. Typically, people will enjoy dates, dried apricots and Ramadan juices, before heading to evening prayer. After that, large meals are the norm, usually with family and friends.
Suhoor is a meal taken just before sunrise, before the day of fasting starts. Many hotels host smaller buffets, traditional activities and more to celebrate until the small hours of the morning.
What is the etiquette with regard to eating and drinking if you’re not fasting?
During Ramadan, drinking and eating in public is considered very offensive and can even attract a fine or a reprimand from the police. If an individual wants to eat or drink in daylight hours during Ramadan it has to be done indoors and out of sight or in designated screened-off areas within public places.