Traveling during Ramadan may present difficulties for non-Muslims, yet it can also provide an invaluable opportunity to learn about Muslim culture. Here are some tips to make your trip successful and enjoyable.
While Morocco is generally welcoming and accommodating, there are still a few etiquette rules you should observe in public places such as covering legs and shoulders when entering buildings, and giving generous tips when leaving.
Know the local customs
Ramadan, or Ramadhan in Arabic, is an important month of fasting and spiritual reflection for Muslims around the world. Additionally, it’s also an occasion of giving and goodwill as people aim to help the less fortunate within their communities as well as travelers on long journeys who might otherwise not afford a meal during breaking fast time.
Travelers should be mindful of these differences during Ramadan, with restaurants remaining closed and business operations operating on a reduced schedule. While non-Muslim visitors do not need to fast, it is still respectful of local customs and traditions when visiting.
If traveling for work during Ramadan, it’s advisable to plan your journey so as to arrive before iftar and depart before sahur. Adherence to these timings will ensure you do not consume food or drinks in public spaces which would violate Muslim custom.
Kuwaitis in Kuwait welcome Ramadan with excitement when the doorbell rings two weeks into Ramadan, signalling the beginning of Gerga’aan – an exciting tradition where children wearing brightly-hued costumes visit neighbours after Maghreb prayer to sing songs and ask family members who open their homes to give out treats such as chocolate and sweets to sing about and exchange gifts with. Gerga’aan offers an unique opportunity to experience another culture during Ramadan!
Know when to break your fast
Ramadan is a time of reflection and spiritual renewal, family gatherings and charity. Fasting from dawn until sunset is broken by sharing an evening meal called Iftar after evening prayers; some Muslims also gather for special tarawih prayer after dark.
Travelers may experience traffic delays as families and friends gather together to break their fasts late into the night. Before planning their trips during Ramadan, travelers should seek local advice regarding road conditions and weather forecasts before making a commitment.
Ramadan dates are determined by sighting of the new moon and may differ depending on which country one lives in. Astronomical calculations weren’t as precise in the past and it could often be hard to spot the lunar phases.
According to most scholars, travelers are exempt from fasting if they meet three criteria for exemption: distance, exceeding and intention: “a man traveling for trade or necessity who travels over a distance which shortens ritual prayer or can reach their destination within three days” (Bukhari). If fasting cannot be observed due to permanent causes such as old age or chronic illness, they should donate one day’s food per missed fast day to poor.
Know where to eat
If you’re visiting a country that celebrates Ramadan, certain things should be kept in mind during your travels. Restaurants and cafes will likely close during daytime hours; however major hotels, tourist restaurants, Western cafes, museums, historical sites will all still be open and public attractions like museums will still operate as usual.
People often become night owls during Ramadan, so you will likely find streets are bustling and shopping areas are busy until Suhoor. Once Iftar arrives, people usually enjoy eating and drinking together.
At this special time of the year, it is advisable to tip generously as many workers may still be hungry and working hard for food. Tiping generously also serves as an appreciation gesture towards those providing you with hospitality during this festive time of the year.
Remember it’s best not to eat, drink or smoke in public during daylight hours regardless of your religion; regardless of if you are Muslim or not. Although the rules regarding this may differ between countries, it’s wise to refrain from these actions during this time.
Exploring North Africa during Ramadan can be both manageable and immensely fulfilling, providing an excellent opportunity to understand local customs and follow some simple guidelines that ensure an easy journey with peace and enlightenment in store for every visitor. Plus, Ramadan provides the chance to witness or participate in unique cultural practices you won’t be able to see anywhere else during the year!
Know when to tip
Be proactive during Ramadan when it comes to tipping. Plan ahead, stock up on ingredients and supplies, and be ready for the rush of customers. It may also help reduce wait times by optimizing space with outdoor seating options or local produce when possible – both help support communities while decreasing transportation emissions.
Ramadan is also an opportunity to strengthen relationships and reconnect with friends and family members you haven’t spoken to in some time – if that hasn’t happened already! Now is an excellent time!