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> Ramadan starts September
gyl.johnson
post Aug 16 2008, 11:42 AM
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If you will be traveling in the Arab world soon, you must be aware that Ramadan begins September 1st and ends on September 30th.

Ramadan is a month long period where from dusk to dawn, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex. Every year the dates change as Ramadan falls on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. In the evenings, families get together and have a big feast.

How this affects you is restaurants open for meals/drinks may be hard to come by during this period. Using Morocco as a reference, I should clarify that traditional Moroccan restaurants will be closed during the day but restaurants serving foriegn food such as Mc Donalds, Pizza Hut and many other types should be open. Conversely, at night it's an extravaganza of food and there are of course specialty dishes, many are sweets, which are only available during Ramadan.

That said I have spoken to people, who visit Morocco regularly, who have said they found the atmosphere wonderful during this period because it is completely quiet during the day and there isnít a soul in the streets. So whether you travel during this period or not depends on what type of experience you are looking for. I will be in Morocco for most of September, my first Ramadan experience, so I'll keep you posted.

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starlagurl
post Aug 25 2008, 03:04 PM
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Yeah, that really is important information. What should you do if you don't like eating at chain restaurants? Are there western restaurants that aren't chains there?


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gyl.johnson
post Aug 26 2008, 11:16 AM
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In Morocco, if the owners are foreigners, for example French, and their target clientele are foreigners, then those restaurants will be open. And its true this varies from Arab country to Arab country. I can't speak for Egypt but Tunisia is a rather liberal country by Arab standards so a lot of restaurants would be open no matter which type of cuisine they serve. However, if you are travelling in the Arab world, without a doubt, Ramadan will have an effect on your holiday.


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raniroo
post Aug 28 2008, 05:10 AM
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In Dubai, alot of restaurants are "opened" during the day in Ramadam, but windows and doors will be covered so no one can see people inside and not offend those that are observing the fasting.....my office is even converting the meeting room for us westerners to eat and drink during the day....

I am spending my first weekend of Ramadan in Kuwait and the hotel will have a special breakfast room for westerners.

Experiencing such an even as Ramadan gives you more of a feel of the Middle East....it is a wonderful time

Last year I tried to fast out of respect but unfortunately could not continue ...far to hot for me to go all day without a drop of water passing my lips....


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starlagurl
post Aug 29 2008, 02:42 PM
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QUOTE(raniroo @ Aug 28 2008, 06:10 AM) *

In Dubai, alot of restaurants are "opened" during the day in Ramadam, but windows and doors will be covered so no one can see people inside and not offend those that are observing the fasting.....my office is even converting the meeting room for us westerners to eat and drink during the day....



That is fascinating...

A friend of mine tried to do it just to see if he could. He did, but said he'd never do it again. He's not Islamic at all though, maybe it's easier if you have such a strong faith.


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inasia2008
post Aug 29 2008, 06:56 PM
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Yes that is basically it, most restaurants will be open but shuttered off, and NO alcohol will be served regardless! Although pubs and clubs may be open still....I don't feel, however, as hossam said, it will have an adverse affect on your holiday! Unless you are an alcoholic of course...
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gyl.johnson
post Sep 12 2008, 12:59 PM
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I'm in Marrakesh right now and all bars and cafes are closed. While some restaurants are open, they are the ones that cater to tourists or expats. At night everything is open and people stay up late into the wee hours of the morning. I really think what to expect during Ramadan varies from one Arab nation to the next. I have to say, its quite pleasant here at this time because there are less tourists than usual.


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