As the holy month of Ramadan approaches this month, there are a few important things to keep in mind for residents and visitors to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This year, Ramadan is anticipated to start on March 22, with the confirmed date to be announced according to the sighting of the moon. Eid Al Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month, is likely to fall on Friday, April 21, with the exact dates to be confirmed by the moon-sighting committee closer to the time.
Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide and requires them to fast from dawn until sunset each day, refraining from food, drink, and smoking during daylight hours. The fast is typically broken each evening with a meal called iftar, which usually includes dates and other traditional foods. In addition to fasting, Ramadan is also a time for spiritual reflection and growth.
For non-Muslim residents and tourists, it is important to adhere to certain rules during Ramadan. These include refraining from aggressive behavior, avoiding playing music or dancing in public, wearing appropriate clothing, refraining from blasphemy, and avoiding eating, drinking, smoking, or chewing gum in public during fasting hours. While it is not mandatory for non-Muslims to fast, it is considered respectful to do so.
Schools in the UAE are expected to receive a two-week break during Ramadan, with shorter school hours also anticipated. Last year, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) directed all schools in Dubai to hold classes for no longer than five hours per day during the holy month. It is expected that the same directive will be issued this year.
For workers in the UAE, reduced working hours during Ramadan are required by law. According to the country’s labor laws, private sector workers are required to work eight hours per day or 48 hours per week. However, during the holy month of Ramadan, working hours are reduced by two.
Finally, Eid Al Fitr is a public holiday in the UAE, with the exact dates confirmed by the moon-sighting committee. According to the UAE government’s social media post, Eid Al Fitr this year will be observed from Ramadan 29 to Shawwal 3. Other important public holidays include Arafah Day, Eid Al Adha, Hijri New Year, Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) birthday, and National Day.