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Tuesday, 8 January 2019 12:00 AM

Holidays in Morocco During Ramadan

Ramadan, the month of fasting, is a very important period in Morocco and visitors during that time should at least be aware of it and are likely to experience some effect from it.

Why is Ramadan Important?

Ramadan is important across the whole of the Muslim world as it is the month in which the Qur’an was revealed, and the month when the gates of Heaven are open and the gates of Hell are closed (and the devils are chained up).

Dates for Ramadan

Ramadan is an Islamic period, hence its dates are set on the Islamic calendar (Ramadan is the 9th month of that calendar), which is based on the lunar cycle (which does not quite equate to the Roman calendar).

In effect the dates come forward by 11 days a year (or 12 days in a leap year) and in 2019 Ramadan will be 5th May - 4th June.

What Happens in Ramadan

During Ramadan Muslims are required to abstain from consuming any food or drink between dawn and dusk (there are also some other things they are required to abstain from including gossiping and lying) and the fast is broken after sunset with a meal of sweets and dates.

The act of fasting is designed to focus the minds and hearts of those adhering away from the mundane world towards Allah, it is therefore an important time for Muslims for self-discipline, reflection and prayer (special night long (“Taraweeh”) prayers are recommended although not required).

How Ramadan May Affect Visitors to Morocco

Any Muslim visitor to Morocco will be well aware of Ramadan and the effects that it has on Muslims, but those effects are likely to be felt by all visitors regardless of their religion.

It is important that all visitors to another country have respect for the local population, its beliefs and culture and accepts those at face value, even if that affects their visit. Non-Muslim visitors are not expected to observe the fast but it is suggested that you be discreet if consuming food or water during the day and avoid smoking in public places.

As the vast majority of Moroccans will fast during daylight hours they will suffer from a significant lack of energy; this includes those working in tourist facilities, hence "normal" service during this period. This is accentuated when Ramadan occurs in a hot month, which it does in at the moment.

In addition to lack of energy, those fasting in a hot month may be a little less communicative or short tempered, and may need to break from service duties to allow the full final meal before sunrise and for the break of the fast after sunset.

Non-tourist eating places tend to be closed until dusk during Ramadan, and restaurants for tourists may have restrictions on the sale of alcohol. Also sights, shops and museums may close earlier than normal, shops open later in the morning

Morocco is great to visit at any time of year and Ramadan is no exception, but we ask clients to understand that service may not be as good as normal when people are hungry and thirsty, and local Moroccan staff may have to fit customer services around their fasting routine.