Everything you need to know about Ramadan
29 April 2019

In the holy month of Ramadan Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. After prayers, the most beautiful and tasty foods are enjoyed with family and friends, this is known as Iftar, the breaking of the fast. Prior to the Muslim holy month of fasting,  much is imported, exports to the Middle East increase and routes are also busier than normal. During Ramadan working hours are two hours shorter and often business is moved forward or completely shut down.

What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is considered the most spiritual month for Muslims, It was the month in which the Quran was revealed to prophet Mohammad. This annual celebration is considered as one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

When does it start?
Ramadan is in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is tricky to declare when it starts; as this is marked by the sighting of the moon on the eve of the first day of the month. This year Ramadan will start on Sunday the 5th or Saturday the 6th of May, dependent on the moon phase. The official announcement will be made from Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

How long does it takes?
Ramadan last for one complete moon cycle, which is usually 29 or 30 days. It ends with seeing a new moon.

What is fasting?
Fasting is called sawm or siyam. When fasting, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and sexual intercourse. An exception is made for pregnant women, soldiers in wartime, young children and sick people.

Why fast?
Fasting is seen as a way of purification of the soul and obedience to god. It also helps with the development of empathy. Fasting lets you feel what it is to be hungry, just like the less fortunate.

How do people greet each other?
Before and during Ramadan Muslims greet each other with Ramadan Kareem, which means to celebrate Ramadan.

Are there different working hours during Ramadan?
Working days are two hours shorter than normal in Muslim countries during Ramadan. This applies for all sectors and employees, even if they are not Islamic.

How is Ramadan ended?
The end of Ramadan is celebrated with Eid al-Fitr, als known as Sugar Festival. In Arabic Eid means; among other things, a recurring festive time with Islamic festivities. It is derived from aud (return). Fitr (starting) is related to breaking the fast. Therefore Eid al-Fitr stands for the festival of breaking the fast.

This year Eid al-Fitr is from the 5th till 7th of June. Often a longer holiday is declared by the Government and all enjoy a national holiday while companies are closed.

Keep adjusted opening hours in mind.