The fasting month of Ramadan that has just started is sacred to Muslims. From daybreak until sunset they refrain from any food and drinks. Travelers planning holidays in Islamic countries should thus get acquainted with the Ramadan rules.
Tourists heading to Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and other prevailingly Islamic destinations should get ready for slightly different atmosphere between June 6 and July 4, during Ramadan.
Islamic scholar, Sarah Albrecht, from the Berlin University said: “Outside of the hotels most stalls and restaurants are not open.” However, in the resorts, the situation is quite different – the holidaymakers have all the food and drinks available all throughout the day.
“There are no restrictions for the hotel guests during the fasting month,” said Sven Schikarsky, from the tour operator FTI.
However, what are the Ramadan rules for tourists? How should the visitors behave when outside the hotels and resorts?
“Some Muslims do not mind when tourists drink or eat during the day,” said Albrecht. "Others would perceive it as disturbing." Thus, some level of respect and tact is needed: "The traveler should consider whether it is appropriate to take out his or her water bottle, for example, in a group of fasting people."
Despite the popular belief, Ramadan does not make the destinations dreary. As soon as the ending signal of the fast can be heard, the life comes to the streets.
"In many Muslim-majority countries there is quite an active life on the road in the evening during Ramadan," said Albrecht. Sven Schikarsky confirmed that after sunset, there are many parties and celebrations. “I like comparing Ramadan to the advent season in Europe. The streets are full of people and joy."