Travelling during Ramadan can be an exciting and enriching experience, providing you are aware of its culture and expectations. Additionally, it presents a great opportunity to gain more insight into Islam.
Ramadan marks the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and serves as an opportunity for Muslims all around the world to practice fasting, prayer, reflection and community building.
Ramadan, which occurs every nineth month in the Islamic lunar calendar, sees Muslims worldwide fast from dawn until sunset for 29 or 30 days, depending on when it falls each year due to lunar cycles. As part of their fast, they drink only water and consume an Iftar meal at sundown (called Iftard in Arabic). Other activities, smoking or any pleasurable consumption must also be avoided during Ramadan.
Fasting can be seen as a time for personal renewal and self-control as well as an opportunity to connect with those less fortunate. Fasting is considered one of the five pillars of Islam and obligatory for adult Muslims. Younger Muslims may start fasting at puberty to prepare them for adulthood; those living with medical conditions, such as diabetes, may choose not to fast. Before undertaking any religious fasting practice it’s wise to consult your healthcare team.
If travelling to a country with a Muslim population during Ramadan, it’s essential that travellers understand cultural sensitivity surrounding fasting. Seek local advice before eating or drinking in public areas where Muslim people might congregate. Planning ahead and avoiding eating or drinking in these locations will ensure an easy experience for everyone involved.
Ramadan culminates with Eid al-Fitr, or the Festival of Breaking Fast. This time for giving back is celebrated through donations of money, clothes, food or services to those less fortunate than ourselves.
Eid al-Fitr is also an opportunity for Muslims to get together with family and friends and celebrate this joyful time of the year, often through feasts, gifts, and great celebrations.
Eid al-Fitr is determined by the moon’s position in the sky and is typically observed by an imam, after which people gather together at an Eid al-Fitr celebration site such as a mosque, park, open field or stadium to pray and celebrate!
Many shops, restaurants and post offices close during public holidays. Tourist-friendly places and those offering halal food will remain open as usual; it may be worth planning ahead as public transportation could have different schedules in effect; plan ahead!
Traveling to Muslim countries during Ramadan may present unique experiences, providing an excellent chance to learn about their culture and traditions in an intimate way. Just keep in mind that people tend to become more reserved during this period; therefore it’s advisable to dress modestly and refrain from engaging in PDAs during your travels.
Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, and its celebrations are introduced through this colourful picture book for children. Through simple text and engaging lift-the-flaps, readers are drawn into one family’s Ramadan traditions such as eating halal food, visiting their mosque and opening Eid presents.
Charity is an integral component of holiday traditions, and families should feel encouraged to donate money or goods to those less fortunate than themselves. Volunteer opportunities exist locally at community projects where you can give time helping others.
At Iftar, a special meal is shared among friends and family to commemorate the end of fasting. It provides an opportunity to exchange stories of good news as well as celebrate loved ones while having fun together. Families should maintain a respectful environment during this important event.
Eid al-Fitr is an integral part of Ramadan and marks its completion, providing families a time to retell the Prophet Mohammed’s arrival in Medina 622 AD and how God protected his army at Badr during battle. Furthermore, Eid al-Fitr marks an ideal opportunity to pay Zakat, or special alms tax dedicated solely for needy individuals, as well as perform additional acts of charity on this special day.
Travelling during Ramadan
Ramadan, or the Holy Month of Ramadan, is an important period of prayer and reflection for millions of Muslims worldwide. If you’re traveling into Muslim-majority countries during Ramadan, be prepared and understand what to expect before going there.
As with any trip, planning ahead and being flexible are keys to successful Ramadan travel. When possible, select accommodation that remains open during the daytime; book ahead when possible if possible and bring along food and water while travelling during Ramadan since many local restaurants and cafes will likely close during this period. Don’t miss suhoor (breakfast before dawn) and iftar (evening meal at sunset).
Though non-Muslim travellers are not expected to fast, it is wise to heed local advice and respect the customs of those who do fast. This includes refraining from eating, drinking, smoking or chewing gum in public places in order not to offend those fasting; additionally it would be prudent not to bring children out to restaurants for meals during fasting hours and avoid sharing dinner or drinks with those fasting.
Alternatively, for longer trips it may be worthwhile booking flights so they depart and land before or after Ramadan begins. While day flights should still provide service during Ramadan, certain airlines may only provide cold meals on board during Ramadan.