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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 2021 in Kuwait.
Ramadan dates and calendar 2021
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, Ramadan is expected to be upon us starting from 12 April and will last until 12 May 2021, followed by the Islamic festivities of Eid al Fitr.
Ramadan in Kuwait
As Islam is officially the state religion, the features of Ramadan in Kuwait may very well be summarized in the people’s eagerness to pay their local masjids a visit, reciting the Qur’an, attending religious majlis (gatherings) and staying up late until after two in the morning. Other aspects involve preparing banquets, late-night shopping and exchanging visits between relatives and friends.
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.
The month of Ramadan also appeals to the people’s sense of piety and charity. It would be factually accurate to state that no one in Kuwait is at any risk of starving during Ramadan due to the abundance of Iftar tents being set up by countless charities, companies and generous individuals across the country. These Iftar tents deliver free meals to anyone in need of nourishments regardless of their ethnic or religious backgrounds.
Hotels and restaurants also rise to the occasion by providing lavish Iftar banquets and suhoor meals wrapped in traditional Ramadan decorations. It’s important to note that while hotels and restaurants remain open, no dine-in services will be offered during daylight hours. Deliveries and takeout services are available.
Some rules to observe
Those who are not fasting are prohibited from eating, drinking and smoking in public. The prohibition is legally enforced which means violation is punishable by law. Either a fine of KWD 100 or a month in jail awaits transgressors.
Other things to avoid doing during Ramadan include playing loud music, showing physical affection (kissing, hugging) to the opposite sex and dressing inappropriately.
Ramadan amidst the pandemic
In view of the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, the Kuwaiti government is considering imposing a set of new restrictions, including a partial curfew. Going ahead, if the situation doesn’t improve till the sacred month of Ramadan, the authorities will have little choice but to enforce stringent measures, such as a ban on mass prayers in the mosques.