While visiting a Muslim majority country during Ramadan can be daunting, it can also be an unforgettable experience. With some careful planning, you can still appreciate its gracious locals, delicious cuisine and fascinating culture.
As visitors are travelling to foreign cultures and religious communities, it’s crucial that travellers respect religious and cultural sensitivities. Women travellers in particular should dress modestly by wearing loose, comfortable clothing covering arms and legs.
Millions of Muslims around the globe observe Ramadan, a month dedicated to spiritual discipline and purification. DW explores how local customs and traditions make this holy time special in countries and cities worldwide, from firing off cannons to lunar sightings – discover how faithful Muslims observe this holy month!
Sinai Bedouin tribesmen of Egypt celebrate Ramadan by sipping gabana coffee brewed over an open fire and filled with herbs. The ritual serves both as a sign of solidarity and also to keep their stomachs full until Iftar time. After sharing food together around a fire during Iftar time, these tribesmen gather around it again after breaking fast to play muheibes: an amusing game played among groups where one member passes an object around and guesses who has it through body language clues.
Ramadan celebrations in South Asia take on a more festive character. Streets come alive with the sound of town criers announcing prayers, Allah and Muhammad names. Sheer khurma, an aromatic vermicelli dessert made with milk is often consumed during suhoor (pre-dawn meal).
Maan Kykers (moon watchers) in Cape Town will wait atop Signal Hill and Sea Point Promenade until they see evidence of Eid al-Fitr approaching, then proclaim it has begun.
As in other countries, UAE attire during Ramadan must adhere to more restrictive standards than usual and all male and female attendees are expected to wear clothing that covers shoulders, torso, and knees – reflecting the spirit of Ramadan and showing respect for those fasting.
At Ramadan, the best way to combat the heat is with loose, lightweight clothes that don’t feel restrictive or revealing. A kaftan is an ideal option for women’s wardrobes as it provides moderate coverage while still looking fashionable and fashionable. Plus, its versatility means it can be worn with different attire depending on the occasion; whether its an office look or casual dinner with friends.
Muslim women should supplement their wardrobe with 3/4 and long-sleeve shirts, blouses and tops that feature 3/4 sleeves or long sleeve length. She should avoid string vest tops, tank tops or one shoulder outfits, which she should also avoid wearing in public. Furthermore, keeping light cardigans or blazers available would be wise.
Woman can add stripes and pajama-style pants as another stylish choice to her Ramadan wardrobe, creating an ideal combination for Iftar parties and more formal events alike.
Muslim’s across the world observe Ramadan with two meals each day: suhroor (breakfast before sunrise) and iftar (meal after sunset). Iftar is typically an elaborate feast with many different energy-rich dishes such as fruits, vegetables, breads and desserts – making each meal an opportunity for communal feasting!
Many recipes vary depending on their region and country of origin, for instance in Morocco where couscous is an often-eaten suhoor meal that offers both richness and ease. Packed full of fiber-rich goodness, it makes an excellent travel food option!
Fattet hummus is another popular option for suhoor meals. Packed full of chicken, caramelized onions, sumac, lemon juice and Aleppo pepper garlic paste; plus crunchy pine nuts to give this hearty meal an extra crunch!
Kheer, or rice pudding with cardamom spices, is an irresistibly creamy dessert often enjoyed at iftar. Made with millet, quinoa or corn for maximum enjoyment this delectable treat makes a delightful way to end any day and pairs wonderfully with poori – an flatbread made with whole wheat flour – as an end-of-day meal. For even more indulgent sweet treat try Eid al-Fitr-themed baklava instead.
Ramadan can significantly limit business hours. Many government entities, tourist restaurants, museums and attractions close early or stay open only until sunset; major hotels and western cafes typically remain open all day; alcohol may be hard to come by but many restaurants provide it at iftar and after sunset if you plan to visit a Muslim country during Ramadan; for your own comfort consider stockpiling drinks and snacks in your hotel room for private enjoyment or bring extra water and food for children and pets just in case they become hungry and thirsty while travelling alongside children/pets!
Traveling during Ramadan can be an enriching and informative experience, giving visitors an inside view of Islam. Though non-Muslims may find the experience challenging at first, non-Muslim travelers will quickly recognize the warmth and good will exhibited throughout this month of giving. Adjust your schedule and embrace the lively environment; you will discover there is still plenty to see, do, eat and drink – not to mention gain newfound respect for gracious locals and delicious cuisine of these countries. Muslim devotees use Ramadan to connect to their spirituality and renew their faith in Allah. Alongside fasting, Muslims observe other five pillars of Islam: Declaration of Faith (Shahada), Prayers (Salah), Charity (Zakat), and Pilgrimage.