When does Ramadan 2018 start?

Muslims everywhere will be looking forward to celebrating Eid al-Fitr this year – but first they must get through the tough period of Ramadan.

Covering the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan is a period of fasting which commemorates the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad, their prophet.

This abstinence from eating and drinking, as well as a few other activities, lasts from dawn to sunset each day for a period of 29-30 days.

So when does this year’s Ramadan kick off?

In 2018, Ramadan will last from Wednesday 16 May until Thursday 14 June.

Eid al-Fitr follows on Friday 15 June this year.

During the entirety of Ramadan, which ends at sunset on the final day, Muslims do not eat, drink, have sexor smoke while the sun is up.

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They also offer more prayers, contribute more money to the poor and regularly study the Quran.

It’s also thought that pious behaviour and good deeds can increase a Muslim’s spiritual reward, known as thawab, during this period.

There are some exemptions from fasting: you can eat and drink if you are suffering from an illness, travelling, are elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic, chronically ill or menstruating.

For those who are fasting, food and drink are served in meals called the suhur and iftar, before and after the sun is up respectively.

Sugary dates are traditionally eaten to break fast in the evening.

Muslims continue with work and school during Ramadan, though they are encouraged to inform their employer or teacher of the fact.

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