Ramadan corresponds to the 9th month of the Islamic calendar and its frequency varies from year to year as the calendar is based on the phases of the moon. And it is the month dedicated to “fasting” (sawan), one of the five pillars of Islam
This year, in Morocco, Ramadan starts on May 5th and ends on June 4th
It is a very significant moment: from dawn to sunset all adult Muslims are required to observe abstinence (or fasting) from food, drink, tobacco, sexual activities to focus on their spiritual renewal.
And life transforms and runs in “slow motion”, since fasting is not easy for anyone to bear …
At sunset, after the fourth prayer of the day, we all gather for the iftar, the meal that is consumed to break the fast and which consists of dates, vegetable soup (harira), and chebakia (typical sweets), milk and water at will.
Public services and often even shops apply a reduced time to adapt to these new habits
And the evening becomes the most lively and folkloric moment of the day, when the streets are filled with life, lights, music and sweet temptations at every corner. After an iftar with dates and other tasty foods, people of all ages indulge in some sweet comfort and often party until late.
No foreigners of other religions are required to observe fasting (on the other hand even Muslims on the go are not obliged to do so), but it is good to avoid, out of respect and solidarity, to eat and drink in public in front of other people who practice ‘abstinence.
And it is important to respect the moment of Islamic prayer and of the “breaking of the fast” and to be understanding when guides and drivers, waiters or shopkeepers are absent from their jobs …
This is a particular condition that could cause minor inconvenience to the traveler but can be just as interesting from a sociological point of view. It could also happen, if you enter in particular friendships with a local person who will offer sweets or invite you to a family party. And accepting the invitation honors his home and the spirit of Ramadan, as well as living a new and different experience.
The festival that marks the end of Ramadan is the Eid – in the Fitr and is the second most important festival of the Muslim religion.