Saturday, May 04, 2019

Ramadan in Morocco - the Basics

Ramadan celebrates the month that the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed. Mohammed was near Mecca when the angel Gabriel revealed the verses of the Qur’an to him. This revelation took place during the 9th month of the Islamic calendar.

This month is deemed the most holy month of the year. During this time, Muslims all over the world join in a period of fasting as an act of intensive worship to Allah. The Qur’an requires that during Ramadan nothing must pass the lips from sunrise to sunset. This includes both food and water. Those who suffer from illness, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and children are all exempt from participating in Ramadan, but are encouraged to make it up later.

Children under age 16 are not required to participate in the fast. As children grow up and learn more about their religion, they often choose for themselves when they want to begin fasting. Some parents will teach their children about the fast by letting them fast for a few hours a day to understand the practice. Children often choose their first day to fast on “The Night of Power”. “The Night of Power” is a special night of prayer and is usually the 27th night of Ramadan in the Moroccan culture.

For the the holy month of Ramadan, Morocco will return to GMT legal time on Sunday, May 05 at 03:00. After the month of Ramadan, the legal time must be advanced 60 minutes Sunday, June 09, 2019 at 02:00.

Based on the lunar calendar, the dates lose 11 days a year (12 in a leap year) and for 2019 Ramadan runs from 5th May - 4th June.

During this time Muslims will fast during daylight hours. The fast is broken after sunset with a meal of sweets and dates. Non-tourist eating places tend to be closed until dusk.

Tourists who are not Muslims are not expected to observe the fast, but should respect local customs - be discreet if consuming food or water during the day and avoid smoking in public places.

As every year, working hours in public administrations and local authorities will change during the holy month of Ramadan. The new schedule will be continuous from Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Museums and sights may close early to allow people to return to their homes to break the fast at dusk and non-tourist eating places tend to be closed until dusk. Many shops open later in the mornings - at about 9.30am - and might close earlier than normal.

There may be extra restrictions on the sale of alcohol in restaurants and hotels.


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