Five Interesting Facts About Ramadan

April 2, 2022 was an ordinary day for many. But for 1.8 billion Muslims around the world, it was Ramadan 1, 1442.

Here are five facts to know about Ramadan, the most holy month of the Islamic calendar:

  1. Ramadan is a month of fasting, abstinence, and contemplation.

Between dawn and dusk during Ramadan, Muslims commonly refrain from all eating and drinking, including water. Prayer, reading from the Quran, and acts of charity are also common Ramadan activities.

  1. Ramadan is determined with precision.

As with every Islamic month, Ramadan begins with the appearance of the hilal, the crescent moon which follows the new moon. In some predominately Islam countries, this must be observed with eyesight and certified by a court.

  1. For users of other calendars, Islamic months may seem to “move.”

The Islamic calendar and the Gregorian calendar both have 12 months. But because the lunar cycle is approximately 29.5 days long, months on the Islamic calendar “move” backward about ten days each year when compared to the Gregorian calendar. Ramadan was observed from approximately April 12 to May 12 in 2021, and from approximately April 23 to May 23 in 2020.

  1. Observance of Ramadan can greatly affect daily life for visitors to predominantly Islamic destinations.

Government offices, banks, and stores may have shorter business hours during Ramadan. They may also shift some business hours to after dusk. Because most residents fast during the day, many restaurants also alter their business hours, or may even close entirely during the day. If you are not Muslim and plan to travel to an Islamic destination during this time, it’s also important to familiarize yourself with local customs and any provisions for foreigners, such as daytime meals at hotels.

  1. The end of Ramadan also marks the beginning of an important holiday.

Eid al-Fitr, which begins the day after Ramadan ends, is a celebration. While traditions vary from place to place, new clothing, family gifts, and sumptuous feasts are common. Islamic countries often observe Eid al-Fitr as a national holiday. In some, Eid lasts multiple days. This year, observation of Eid al-Fitr will begin the evening of May 1 in most countries.


Written by Erin Fitzgerald, GMS, Content Manager