Ramadan - what is it and how long does it last?

Published 25 September, 2021

Ramadan or Ramazan?

It is possible that when planning a trip to Turkey, you met the word Ramadan or Ramazan, or even a warning not to go to Turkey during this period. What is Ramadan? How long does it take? When is Ramadan? How does it affect tourism? In this post, we will explain to you what this mysterious Ramadan is and we will try to show that you do not have to be afraid of it during your holidays in Turkey. :)

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan, also called Ramazan in Turkey - is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. It is a holy month for the followers of Islam, because according to Islam, in this month the archangel Gabriel appeared to Muhammad and gave several verses of the future holy book of Islam - the Koran.

How long is Ramadan?

This month is based on a 30 day fasting. Every day, from sunrise to sunset, Muslims must refrain from consuming food, drinks (yes, they cannot even drink water!). They are also not allowed to consume any stimulants (such as cigarettes) or have sexual intercourse during this time. During the fasting, Muslims should be honest and avoid conflicts. This fast is a form of protection against the punishment of Allah. If a Muslim fasts, then he will be honored to enter Paradise.

During the fast, two meals are eaten - Iftar and Suhur. Iftar should be eaten after sunset and Suhur before sunrise. When the call for the morning prayer from mosques begins, you should finish eating until sunset, which will be announced with another call and a cannon fire.

At the end of the fasting, there is the celebration of Şeker Bayramı. These are 3 public holidays during which Turkish families spend time together, share wishes, gifts and sweets among themselves. It is a joyful time and the tables are full of sweets and other goodies.

Does every Muslim follow fasting?

Of course not every Muslim follows fasting. It all depends on how someone approaches their faith or feels up to it. Turkey is a secular country (the right to freely practice one's faith), so there is no top-down command to observe the fast. It is an individual choice.

People who are exempt from the fasting:

  • pregnant or lactating women
  • women who have menstruation
  • sick people
  • elder people
  • travelers

In such a case, it is the duty of the follower of Islam to make up for 30 days of fasting at any time during the year. During Ramadan, they should also provide a meal to at least one person who is in a worse situation.

When is Ramadan?

It is a movable period, there is no fixed date. This date is in line with the lunar calendar. Ramadan in 2021 was between April 13 and May 12.

Ramadan dates for the following years:

  • Ramadan in 2022 - from April 2 to May 1
  • Ramadan in 2023 - from March 23 to April 20
  • Ramadan in 2024 - from March 11 to April 9

What does Ramadan mean for tourists and how to behave?

It all depends on where we are. On the coast and in big cities, you may not even feel that fasting is in progress. Everything is open, only after sunset it can be difficult to find a free place in the restaurant :) There will be no problem for anyone if you eat outside, or take a walk drinking water or juice. In tourist regions, we can see non-practicing Muslims eating, drinking and smoking during the day. This is an individual choice.

In smaller towns and in more religious areas, it may already be noticeable when someone passes by a fasting Muslim, nibbling on snacks. Most places are closed during the day so it can be hard to find somewhere to eat.

Of course, there are no penalties for failing to fast or eating out. The Turks are very understanding and they will not cause problems because someone eats a meal in front of them, but let's try to be understanding and respect their traditions, after all, we are guests in their country, so it should be respected.

Certainly, during Ramadan we will see less traffic during the day, so it is a good time for sightseeing. Turks usually stay at home during the day, sleep and try to fill the time until sunset so as not to feel so hungry and thirsty.

Going on vacation during Ramadan is not problematic for tourists. There are no limits for them, just remember to respect each other. It is worth going on vacation during Ramazan at least once in your life and feel the prevailing atmosphere of the most important holiday in the Muslim calendar :)


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