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Ramadan, the ninth month of the Hijri calendar (a lunar calendar), is considered the holiest month in the Islamic faith. Through stringent fasting, discipline, introspection, and prayer, Muslims elevate their level of spiritual and physical submission to Allah, express their gratitude, and seek his forgiveness.

It is believed that during this month Allah revealed the holy Quran to Prophet Muhammad through the angel Gabriel. As a way of honouring this auspicious period of time, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, any form of violence, anger, and also husband-wife intimacy from the breaking of dawn until the setting of the sun. Reading the Quran and making a charitable donation (Zakat-al-Fitr) are also encouraged.

So, as we prepare to welcome the holiest of months, here are the dates, calendar, and guide to spending Ramadan 2021 in Oman.

Ramadan dates and calendar 2021

The beginning of Ramadan is subject to the sighting of the moon and hence, there is some degree of uncertainty involved. However, it can be estimated by Muslim scholars and authorities by observing the appearance and cycle of the moon.

In 2021, Ramadan is expected to start from Monday, April 12, and will last until Wednesday, May 12. The month-long festivities will culminate into Eid-Al-Fitr. The exact date of Eid depends on the new moon, so it is better to confirm it from your local mosque.

Ramadan in Oman

In the days leading up to Ramadan, Omani households gear up zealously for the month-long festivities. It begins with purchasing all the supplies and ingredients required for traditional meals. Houses are dusted and mopped from roof to basement and made sparkling-clean, in line with the Quran’s stress on cleanliness and hygiene. Families and relatives get together for breaking their fasts, which is said to double the rewards of their self-restraint.

Omani women have a substantial role in the celebrations, from making a list of favourite food of all family members and preparing the fast-breaking tables accordingly, to educating the children about various religious traditions and customs.

Omanis also place importance on strengthening relations with other families in the society. Food and sweets are often exchanged with neighbours as a token of their affection, brotherhood and tolerance. In some areas the Qaranqasho is also celebrated, where children walk around their neighbourhoods collecting sweets, candies, nuts, and sometimes, money.

Image © Oman Observer

Few things to keep in mind

Eating in public places, including workspaces and offices, is considered offensive and may get you in trouble with the police. If you aren’t fasting and want to eat or drink during daylight, you must do it indoors, out of sight of any Muslim. Loud and boisterous music is also prohibited in order to maintain proper decorum.

Dressing conservatively during the month is another custom you must be mindful of. Men and women should cover their shoulders and knees at all times. Tight and revealing clothes are a strict no-no, specifically so for women.