If you are considering a vacation to Morocco during Ramadan or visiting a region with a large muslim community, the ideal way to an excellent vacation is to be aware of the local culture and customs. Take a look:
- What is Ramadan: Ramadan is one of the five pillars of the Islam. It is a holy month during which muslims fast during daylight as a way to practice self-discipline and generosity. Millions of muslims fast from dawn to sunset. They refrain from eating, drinking, smoking or engaging in sexual activity. The fast is broken at sunset (Iftar). A nother important meal (suhoor) is served at pre-dawn.
- It’s important to know when is Ramadan in order to plan your trip accordingly. The dates change every year because it follows the lunar calendar. Also be advised that the dates of Ramadan are not the same all over the world. You might find a couple of days difference between one country or another. Ramadan this year (2016) is expected to take place from June 6th to July 5th.
- Adapt to local rhythms of fasting as people are more active at night than during the day. Life in most moroccan cities is more festive at night. After the night prayer (Taraweeh), coffee shops get filled with people playing cards or watching the soccer games.
- For some people fasting is easy for others it’s not. Just be aware that tempers tend to flair up more easily during the day in Ramadan, as people are restrained from their morning coffee or smoking.
- Plan for your meals as a lot of restaurants are going to stop serving food throughout the day. Most international fast food chains remain open serving food day and night.
- Dress conservatively during Ramadan. Most Locals dress moroccan clothing like Djellaba and most women tend to wear longer dresses!
- Make sure to get invited to an Iftar where you can try authentic Moroccan food. . The Iftar table is a full spread of ramadan treats: Harira soup, tagine, salad, couscous and the sweet Chebbakia are a must-try.
- Plan your transportation, as most cabs and public transportation slow down during Iftar time.
- Plan to visit the Medina in the afternoon a couple of hours before Iftar. You’ll be amazed by the lively markets and tastefully decorated local vendors carts and tables . It is worth visiting during this time!
- Don’t be surprised to hear a drummer or trumpet player (Neffar) playing from street to street just before dawn, to wake up sleepers for their shoor meal.
Enjoy you visit to Morocco ! Ramadan is a wonderful time to get closer and experience the Moroccan culture and Traditions.