Culture

Visiting Morocco During Ramadan; What To Expect

Toronto - For anyone unfamiliar with the lunar calendar followed by Muslims throughout the world, Ramadan falls during the ninth month, to honour the month when the Quran was first revealed. If you are in Morocco for Ramadan, here are a few things which you may find helpful.

What Does Ramadan Mean?

According to Muslim history, the angel Jibral (Gabriel) visited the prophet Muhammad and told him to read. This was an instruction the prophet could not obey because it was a skill he didn’t possess. Alone near Mecca, Jibral taught Muhammad how to read over the next ten days, the result of which were ten verses which became the foundation of what would come to be called the Holy Quran.

Accepted Muslim historical record holds this event taking place in the ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar and so, Ramadan occurs in the ninth month of each Muslim year.

Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca in Ramadan

For the 30-day duration of Ramadan, Muslims the world over fast from sunrise to sunset each and every day. Neither food nor liquid of any kind is permitted to the observant Muslim until the day’s fasting is broken at sunset.

A canon report or siren heralds the approach of sunrise and the day’s last permissible intake of nourishment. A final canon or siren brings the welcome news that the sun has set and eating may commence.

The official end of Ramadan is celebrated in a three-day holiday known as Eid Fitr and celebration is an apt word for the event. Family and friends travel from far and wide to unite in a release marked by special prayers, feasts, sweets and gift-giving.

What Does This Mean for Tourists?

Basically, most tourists shouldn’t see a disruption to service or a diminishment in the legendary Moroccan hospitality whatsoever.

Despite the deprivation, despite the usually challenging heat, the Moroccan tourism industry maintains a status quo. There are tourists who express feelings of discomfort with being served meals and other refreshments in front of people they know to be fasting. There is, however, no taboo involved although respect and discretion is most likely very much appreciated by adherent Muslims. If possible, try to avoid eating or drinking while you walk through the streets during Ramadan.

Residents walk in the old Medina of Fez. Photo by Morocco World News
Residents walk in the old Medina of Fez. Photo by Morocco World News

Shop hours may alter slightly to accommodate observant Muslims getting home for their sunset meal but no major closures will be experienced. Some hotels have even been known to lower their rates during Ramadan because it generally a bit less crowded.

When it comes to Eid-ul-Fitr, however, there will be noticeable closures. Shops and souks will most likely be closed for the three-day holiday.

Otherwise, by all means enjoy what promises to be an unforgettable visit to one of the world’s most captivating countries!

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