Ramadan starts tomorrow

image

So, Ramadan officially starts tomorrow. For those who’ve never been here during the Muslim month of fasting, here’s 10 things worth noting about it:

  1. Muslims fast from sunrise dawn to sunset, meaning no eating or drinking
  2. In Qatar, it is illegal to eat or drink in public during this time.
  3. Restaurants are closed during the day, only opening an hour or so before sunset for takeout orders, and then of course freely serving after dusk.
  4. Bars in the country are shut down during Ramadan, as is the drinks distribution center.
  5. Iftar is the name of the evening meal, when Muslims break their fast. This can sometimes take the form of lavish feasts.
  6. Just before iftar, having gone without food and drink for ~15 hours, people are going to be in a hurry to get home and eat. And they will drive crazy. So might be a good time to stay off the road.
  7. Suhoor is the late night/early morning meal before the fast begins anew. Although contrary to the “spirit” of the month, some actually feast from sunset to sunrise, combining (more or less) iftar and suhoor.
  8. Said feasting typically occurs at Ramadan tents – separate (usually furnished, carpeted and air-conditioned) tents set up by businesses, 5-star hotels and the like. Prices range from 100 QR – 250 QR with extensive buffets, and sometimes even music, hookah and belly dancing.
  9. Working hours during Ramadan are legally reduced by about two hours a day, for a max 30 hours a week.
  10. The combined effect of points 1-9 means just about everything slows down during Ramadan – from government services, to private company offerings. So expect life to not go according to schedule.

What else would you add to the list?

UPDATE: Looking for Ramadan in 2013 (1434 AH)? Qatar has declared the night of July 9, 2013 the start of Ramadan, with the first fast on July 10.

Credit: Graphic by Arnab Dutta

Please read our Comments Policy before joining the discussion. By commenting, you agree to abide by it.

Some comments may not be automatically published. This is not action taken by us, but instead, depending on whether or not you have verified your email address, or if your post triggers automatic flags.