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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 Switzerland.    

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 in Switzerland 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 Switzerland

It is estimated that Muslims in Switzerland make up some 5 percent of the total population, which translates to roughly about 400,000 people. As a consequence, Ramadan in Switzerland is not as festive as it is in predominantly Muslim countries.

Furthermore, the long daylight hours present an additional challenge for those engaged in Ramadan fasting; in some cases, Switzerland has been recorded to receive daylight for as long as 17 hours in a single day. This means that Muslims in Switzerland have, at times, endure a punishing 17 hour fast while utilizing what little time remains to rest, pray and have their pre-dawn meals.

The Geneva Mosque. Image © Wikipedia.org

Since the Muslims in Switzerland are made up of various cultures and traditions, they thus go about Ramadan adhering to their respective customs. Muslims of Turkish and Balkan descent tend to spend their iftar (breaking of the fast) at home among families and relatives, whereas those of Arab, African and Asian backgrounds tend to favor having their iftar meals communally at mosques or Islamic centers.

However, many of them do indeed congregate at mosques throughout the country come prayer time. Apart from the mandatory prayers, Muslims are also encouraged to perform the voluntary tarawih prayer as a means to strengthen their relationship with both the Creator and their fellow man.

 

Some rules to observe

Unlike in predominantly Muslim countries, there aren’t any particular rules or prohibitions to be observed during Ramadan in Switzerland. Life pretty much goes on the way it always has for the majority of the population in Switzerland.