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:
- Muslims fast from
sunrisedawn to sunset, meaning no eating or drinking
- In Qatar, it is illegal to eat or drink in public during this time.
- 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.
- Bars in the country are shut down during Ramadan, as is the drinks distribution center.
- Iftar is the name of the evening meal, when Muslims break their fast. This can sometimes take the form of lavish feasts.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Working hours during Ramadan are legally reduced by about two hours a day, for a max 30 hours a week.
- 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
Is that illegal if i eat food in public??