Ramadan Karim!

August 26, 2009by Brenda Pierce

This is the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims around the world. It began around August 22 and will end about September 20 (The exact dates of Islamic holidays cannot be determined in advance, due to the nature of the Islamic lunar calendar. Estimates are based on expected visibility of the hilal (waxing crescent moon following a new moon) and may vary according to location). There are many resources available on the meaning and practices during Ramadan, so I won’t get into that here- and I am not an expert on the subject so a detailed explanation is best left to those who know so much more about it than me.

As we plan your tours, we will always let you know when major holidays are taking place and what to expect while traveling in the Middle East and North Africa during these times. In many of our destinations, because the populations are predominantly Muslim, there will be public observances of these holidays. Business hours are usually shorter, and sights might also have shortened hours. Keep in mind that in observance of Ramadan, people are fasting all day and it is respectful (if not mandatory in many places) to not publicly consume food or drink. Many western hotels will continue to serve food and beverages throughout the day, but you may not take food outside the hotel. This also goes for carrying around bottles of drinking water. You may have them in the car or bus, but leave them there when you get out to visit a site. In the evening, families gather to break their fast when the sun goes down, so not much will be happening during this time.

The end of Ramadan is marked with the Eid Al Fitr, a feast day to end the month, and a big celebration. We hope if you are traveling during the month of Ramadan (or any other holiday, be it Mulsim, Jewish or Christian), that you will take this opportunity to learn about this important holiday and how it is observed around the Muslim world.

Muslims in the US also observe Ramadan, which can mean that some embassies may have shorter hours and work weeks, so things like processing visas can take a little longer.

Ramadan Karim, wishing everyone a joyous, peaceful Ramadan.


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