Iran is a Muslim country. During the month of Ramadan (June ~07, 2016 to July ~05, 2016), Muslims fast during the day, say several prayers and then break their fast with a special evening meal.
Fasting is obligatory for Muslims, with the exception of pregnant women, the ill, children or diabetics. From sunrise to sunset, Muslims refrain from consuming any food, drinking liquids and smoking. Empathize with the poor and the needy; and learn to appreciate God’s blessings in their lives. Sharing food with the poor, inviting people for the meal that breaks the fast (iftâr), giving to charity, and completing a reading of the whole Quran during this month attract numerous divine rewards.
This article will provide tips for the non-Muslim traveler or expat in Iran during Ramadan, including things like dining advice, etiquette and understanding.
Manners For Visitors During Ramadan In Iran
Many travellers, upon visiting Iran for the first time during Ramadan, are concerned they will not find anywhere to eat because restaurants will be shut down during the day. Of course, while Muslims fast, this doesn’t mean no food can be found in Iran before sunset.
If you visit Iran during Ramadan, it is good manners to abstain from eating and drinking in public out of consideration for those observing the fast. Fast food outlets and restaurants are closed during daylight hours, but some restaurants especially in the hotels and grocery shops are not, and you should be able to have meals in hotels (all travelers are exempt from fasting).
What Etiquette Should I Keep in Mind?
First of all, consider the fact you are in a Muslim country and a conservative dress code is appropriate. For women, head and hair must be covered so keep your hair, legs and shoulders covered.
During Ramadan, you must avoid obviously eating, drinking and smoking in public areas during the day. It’s fine to do so in some restaurants that are open or in your own hotel room.
What Are Iftar Dinners?
After the evening call to prayer (azân-e maghreb), the fast is broken with dates, sweet tea, bread, cheese, fresh herbs, thick herb soup with noodles (âsh-e reshteh) or porridge, halva, rice, and saffron pudding. If you’re walking through the city at the time when the fast is broken, you will be offered dates, tea, or soup by believers who may have made a pledge for a sick person to become healed, or for the fulfillment of any other wish. The response to such offers is Inshâ-allâh qabul bâsheh’ (May God accept your pledge [and assign a reward for it]).
When Is Ramadan?
The dates for Ramadan are based on the Islamic lunar calendar and depend on the traditional sighting of the crescent moon by eye. Predicting the dates for Ramadan is impossible in advance; sometimes the dates even vary between Islamic countries.
The end of Ramadan is celebrated on Eid Fitr with congregational prayers.
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