[Editor's note: This article was first published on December 11, 2023 and has been updated to inform residents about the upcoming Holy Month.]
Less than 30 days separate the UAE from the Islamic month of Ramadan. Considered the holiest month in Islam, Ramadan sees Muslims fasting from dawn to dusk. Life, in general, slows down across the country, with reduced office hours and a general spiritual atmosphere prevailing.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Like all months in the Hijri calendar, its start is determined by when the crescent moon is spotted. Though actual dates are subject to moon sightings and will be announced by the authorities, astronomical calculations can predict the most likely dates fairly accurately.
As per the Hijri calendar published on the Dubai Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (IACAD) website, Ramadan will begin on Tuesday, March 12, 2024. Temperatures around the time will be cool as it’s the beginning of the spring season in the UAE. Schools will be closed for either the spring or end-of-term break around the time.
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The fasting hours will be shorter in 2024 as compared to 2023.
On the first day of the holy month, Muslims will abstain from food and drink for 13 hours and 16 minutes. By the end of the month, the fasting hours will have reached almost 14 hours. In 2023, the fasting hours ranged between 13 hours and 33 minutes and 14 hours and 16 minutes.
According to the IACAD calendar, the holy month is expected to have 29 days, with the last fasting day being Tuesday, April 9.
Islamic festival Eid Al Fitr is marked after the fasting month. In 2024, the festival will offer the longest official break for residents. The government has specified that Ramadan 29 to Shawwal 3 will be a public holiday. Based on the calendar, the corresponding Gregorian calendar dates are: Tuesday, April 9, till Friday, April 12. When you factor in the Saturday-Sunday weekend, this is a six-day break.