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The month of Ramadan is considered the holiest and most sacred month of the Islamic Hijri (lunar) calendar. Muslims firmly believe that it was during this exalted month that the archangel Gabriel descended from the heavens and revealed the Message to the Prophet Muhammad.
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims are required to elevate their level of spiritual and physical submission to God by way of fasting; that is to say, Muslims must abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and also husband-wife intimacy from the breaking of dawn until the setting of the sun.
As we prepare to welcome the holiest of months, here are the dates, calendar and guide to spending Ramadan 2022 around the world.
Ramadan dates and calendar 2022 – when is Ramadan 2022?
The arrival of Ramadan has always been associated with a certain amount of mystique and contemplation. The exact date of the month’s beginning is traditionally determined by religious scholars/authorities under the cover of night as they seek to observe certain sightings related to the appearance and cycle of the moon. This year, the moon is expected to be visible to the naked eye at sunset on Friday, April 1, with fasting set to begin the following day, Saturday, April 2.
It’s important to note, however, that due to the cycle of the moon, Ramadan dates vary in different countries albeit typically only by a day. So the answer to the question of when Ramadan 2022 starts would largely depend on where you live.
Many other countries celebrating Ramadan are likely to also observe the Holy Month starting from the 3rd of April. These countries are Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, and most non-Arab countries in Africa.
Umrah during Ramadan
If you are thinking of performing Umrah in Ramadan, you can check our article about the latest update of Umrah 2022 below.
Ramadan observances around the world
In most Islamic or predominantly Muslim countries, work and school hours are cut short during Ramadan. Hotels remain open as do restaurants within their grounds. All other restaurants are mostly closed during the day with some closed for dine-in only.
For those who do not practice Islam, having meals, drinks and cigarettes during the day are generally viewed as unacceptable. In some countries, it is even punishable by law. Women must also take care to dress modestly and conservatively. Shoulders, necklines and knees are expected to be hidden from view during Ramadan.
Here are some unique Ramadan observances and traditions from around the world.
As with other middle eastern countries, Ramadan in Algeria has always been a joyous affair. Happiness and joy abound as numerous customs associated with the advent of the exalted month materialize in the collective psyche of Algerians across the country.
Furthermore, however varied their age-old customs and traditions may be, they all revolve around the underlying theme of generosity, charity and kinship. As such, Muslims across Algeria view Ramadan as the perfect opportunity to compete in gaining the blessings and favor of God by performing good deeds for the less fortunate.
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As the blessings of Ramadan reverberates throughout the Kingdom, the people of Bahrain rejoice in a serene Ramadan atmosphere characterized by feelings of kinship, charity and spirituality. Such kinship and benevolence are particularly observable in masjids all over Bahrain, where free Iftar (breaking of the fast) meals for Muslims and non-Muslims alike are being offered. Prior to the pandemic, it’s estimated these free Iftar meals had been provided for some 12,000 people throughout Ramadan each and every year courtesy of benefactors who wished to remain nameless.
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Ramzan 2022 promises to be a lively month in Bangladesh. The culinary traditions of the country practically mandate those engaged in fasting take to the streets and enjoy the open-air buffet. Nearing sunset, people are inexplicably drawn to the allure of these traditional iftar markets of Dhaka and other cities as they serve various shahi or dishes deemed perfect for breaking one’s fast.
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The Fanous Ramadan, a type of traditional lantern, is one of the most popular icons connected with Ramadan, so much so that it even bears the marker of identification in its name. The Fanous, which originated in Egypt but has become a dominating cultural aspect of the Islamic world, especially during its month of unwavering devotion, dates all the way back centuries ago. These beautifully designed folk lanterns are thought to have originated during the time of the Caliph Al-Muizz Lideenillah, when he was greeted by lantern-wielding Egyptians upon his arrival in Cairo during Ramadan.
According to Egypt’s National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics, Ramadan is expected to begin on April 2, 2022. The crescent moon of Ramadan will be visible on Friday, April 1, which is corresponding to the 29th of the Islamic month of Shaban. Accordingly, April 2, will be the first day of Ramadan, astronomers said. The moon is expected to be visible to the naked eye at sunset on April 1, with fasting set to begin the following day, Saturday.
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The seheriwalas (or zohridaars) of Delhi represent the city’s old Mughal culture and legacy and are part of a Muslim tradition that has lasted for centuries. During Ramadan, seheriwalas wander the streets of the city in the early hours of the morning, chanting Allah’s and the Prophet’s names to act as a wake-up call to Muslims for suhoor. This centuries-old custom is still practiced in sections of Old Delhi, especially in areas with a large Muslim population. Expect the seheriwalas to perform their duty following the official announcement of the Ramadan 2022 date in India.
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Indonesia is a diverse archipelago consisting of thousands of islands and hundreds of ethnic groups. The diversity inevitably gives rise to unique Ramadan traditions practiced by its millions of Muslims. One noteworthy tradition is the cleansing ritual Indonesian Muslims undertake just before Ramadan commences. Men, women and children utter the niyat (intention) and bathe themselves in springs, pools and even their own private bathrooms. They thoroughly wash from head to toe signifying a clean physical and spiritual state to begin their submission to the Almighty for the following month.
One of the more noteworthy Ramadan traditions of Kuwait is the firing of the Iftar cannon in Kuwait City. Children and adults alike gather around the cannon in anticipation of the thundering blast signaling the breaking of the day’s fast. The firing of the Iftar cannon takes place at the Naif Palace while also being broadcasted throughout the country each and every day during Ramadan. The tradition has been practiced since the 1960s.
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Ramadan in Lebanon breathes life into its people, into the almost-forgotten traditional practices, and into the country’s dwindling businesses. The celebrations could, in fact, give all the other Arab countries a run for the most vibrant and energetic of Ramadan observances. Overflowing mosques, crowding at the centuries-old souks, and mass iftar meals deterring traffic are common sights during Ramadan in Lebanon.
An ancient Beiruti tradition called “Istibanat Ramadan” is still observed by some people in Lebanon. As a practice, people would head out and take strolls on the beaches or public parks to witness the crescent. This marks the beginning of Ramadan. In earlier days, people would even visit the Dar Al fatwa or the Islamic court to testify their sighting before the Mufti officially announced the start of Ramadan.
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The archipelago of Maldives sees families gathering in the evening to break their day-long fasts, traditionally with three dates and a glass of watermelon juice. Traditional delicacies like hedhikaa, fathu mashuni, roshi, rihakuru bondi, and curries are cooked in Muslim households. Fish preparations take the centre stage on the table, while the other local produce, such as fresh coconut water, mangoes, and pineapples serve as accompaniments. Faloodha is a popular dessert made from rose syrup, condensed milk, water, and basil seeds to be devoured at the end of the meal.
After the Tarawih prayers, friends and families come together again for the Tarawih Buin and share small plates and desserts, including Sooji and Pirini. Just before the dawn prayer, Maldivians have their supper, called Haaru or Suhoor, which is concluded on a sweet note with a bowl of porridge, known as baihpen.
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During Ramadan, the nafar – a town crier who, dressed in traditional garb of a gandora, slippers, and a cap, proclaims the start of dawn with his singing – roams Morocco’s neighborhoods. The townspeople chose the nafar for his honesty and sensitivity, and he marches down the street blowing a horn to rouse them up for suhoor.
This custom, which has extended from the Middle East to Morocco, dates back to the seventh century when a companion of the Prophet Muhammad would sing lovely prayers on the streets before dawn. When the nafar’s song sweeps through town, it is greeted with gratitude and praise, and on the last night of Ramadan, he would be properly rewarded by the community.
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In Eastern European countries such as North Macedonia, Muslims are among the minority. However, Ramadan is still considered a significant religious observance by both the government as well as its non-Muslim population. Muslim families whip up food not typically served outside of Ramadan, such as baklava, pacha, dates, yoghurt all complemented perfectly by the soft and airy somun bread. These delightful cuisines are exquisitely arranged on the sofra, the Turkish word for essentially a table prepared for dining with family and friends.
Unlike in predominantly Muslim countries, there aren’t any particular rules or prohibitions to be observed during Ramadan. Life pretty much goes on the way it always has for the majority of people in North Macedonia.
The Chaand Raat festivities in Pakistan begin with the appearance of the new moon, which marks the end of Ramazan and the start of Eid-al-Fitr. Women and girls rush to the local bazaars after their final iftar to buy colorful bangles and get complex henna designs painted on their hands and feet.
Ramazan 2022 in Pakistan will essentially be the same. Shopkeepers decorate their stalls and stay open into the early hours of the morning in honor of this tradition. Local ladies set up temporary henna shops around jewelry stores to draw in consumers who are out shopping and apply henna on the spot. On Chaand Raat, the atmosphere in the crowded markets is one of community spirit, vibrant and exuberant in preparation for Eid the next day.
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For the Qataris, Ramadan is also affectionately known and referred to as the month of Ghabga; the month of the midnight feast. The purpose of Ghabga is to gather family and friends so that the midnight feast may be enjoyed in a spirit of togetherness. The youth may have their gathering here, as do the men and women; all uniting in intimacy and love under one roof as they reminisce shared memories and enjoy each other’s company. Other than that, they also have Garangao where children, clad in their traditional clothes, will come out of their homes and knock on every door in their neighbourhood, which will be ready to receive them with sweets and nuts. They collect the goodies in the special cotton bags, hanging loosely from their necks. Kids will be seen wandering around the streets until late into the night singing the special Garangao song.
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For all the Saudis in the eastern Saudi region of Al-Ahsa, they have their own tradition called Qarsh Night which is also known as Quraish, which is a night where the families of Saudi gather for a big meal of special dishes to celebrate the upcoming Ramadan. This tradition is passed through generations, and it has been one of the most popular traditions in Saudi Arabia. Not only foods but the night is also filled with many exciting activities, such as game nights, festivals, candy sales, etc.
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During Ramadan, the mosques are decorated beautifully with lights and flowers across Senegal. Religious classes are held almost daily. Muslims flock to their nearby mosques for the Tarawih prayer and to read the holy scripture. Religious songs are also typical of the Ramadan celebrations in Senegal, with several all-night events devoted to these songs being arranged. Many Senegalese even take special training to learn the art of singing the orotarios and performing the adhan in the distinctive African way.
The appearance of the first crescent of the moon marks the end of Ramadan. Although this is done all across the world, the maan kykers (Afrikaans for “moon watchers”) demonstrate how distinctive this ritual is in South Africa.
Muslims from all across South Africa gather in Cape Town, the country’s “Mother City,” to hunt for the new moon. Only the maan kykers, who are appointed by the Muslim Judicial Council of South Africa, can declare an official sighting. It’s up to them to alert the Muslim community that Eid-al-Fitr is approaching from the Sea Point Promenade, Three Anchor Bay, or even atop Signal Hill. The moon must be seen with the naked eye, and there is no more beautiful sight than that on a clear night in Cape Town.
Tunisian Muslims observe the practices of self-restraint and self-discipline during the month of Ramadan. It is common to go on with day-to-day work and rest during the daytime. Once the sun sets, however, people retire to their homes for the iftar and the evening prayers. Typically, Tunisians break their fast with a sip of water and three dates and say “Saha Chribtek” to each other, meaning ‘may it be for your health’.
They also have Ramadan charity banquets, a time-honored tradition that symbolizes solidarity in the Muslim holy month, have become a bitter necessity in Tunisia, gripped by a years-long economic crisis worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.
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In Turkey, people who practice fasting during Ramadan have awoken to the sound of a drum beating early in the morning for suhoor since the Ottoman Empire. Despite the progression of time (and the invention of alarm clocks), over 2,000 drummers still stroll Turkey’s streets during the holy month, unifying the local community.
Drummers wear traditional Ottoman garb, which includes a fez and a waistcoat with typical Ottoman designs. The Ramadan drummers rely on the goodwill of locals to give them gratuities (bahşiş) or even welcome them in to share their suhoor feast as they go around with their davul (Turkish double-headed drum). This bahşiş is frequently collected twice during the holy month, with many givers believing that they will be rewarded by their generosity with good fortune.
Turkish officials recently introduced a membership card for drummers in order to instill pride in those who perform and to urge a new generation to continue this age-old practice in the fast-changing country.
United Arab Emirates
The tradition of haq al laila, which is sometimes compared to the Western habit of trick-or-treating, takes place on the 15th of Sha’ban, the month preceding Ramadan. This day, which is observed in many Gulf nations, sees children dressed in bright apparel walking their neighborhoods, collecting sweets and nuts in tote bags known as kharyta, all while singing traditional local songs. As children eagerly receive their gift, the chant Aatona Allah Yutikom, Bait Makkah Yudikum reverberates through the streets, translating from Arabic to ‘Give to us and Allah will reward you and help you visit the House of Allah in Mecca.’
This ceremony is regarded as a part of Emirati national identity in the United Arab Emirates. This festival gives a throwback to simpler times and emphasizes the need for strong communal relationships and family values in today’s modern society, which is often described as more solitary and independent.
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