The highlight of the Islamic year, Ramadan, which is the ninth month of the Muslim lunar year, can be a great time to visit Iran. Some travelers are concerned that sightseeing and activities in Iran will be limited during Ramadan. However, it is an excellent opportunity to experience the traditions and culture of this Islamic country. Tourists can find information below about when Ramadan takes place, how is traveling during Ramdan in Iran and what travelers should take into consideration when traveling during Ramadan.
When is Ramadan in 2022?
Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar. The lunar calendar has 11 days fewer than the Georgian calendar. That’s why, the date of Ramadan moves backward by 11 days each year in relation to the Georgian calendar. The date of beginning Ramadan is based on the Islamic lunar calendar and depends on the traditional sighting of the crescent moon by eye. Therefore, predicting the exact date for Ramadan is impossible in advance. Sometimes the dates even vary between Islamic countries.
Ramadan in 2022 begins from April of 2nd and lasts for 30 days until sundown on Saturday 2nd of May. Islamic holidays always begin and end at sundown.
In 2022, as Ramadan is in April, so it falls within the period considered to be peak season and the best time to visit Iran.
What happens during Ramadan in Iran?
Iran is a Muslim country. So like in other Muslim countries during the month of Ramadan, Iranian Muslims fast during the day, say several prayers and then break their fast with a special evening meal (Iftar). Fasting is obligatory for Muslims, with some exceptions of travelers, pregnant women, the ill, children or diabetics. Throughout the whole month of Ramadan Muslims fast during daylight hours. It means, they refrain from eating any food, drinking liquids and smoking from sunrise to sunset. Instead, one meal is eaten right after sunset (Iftari) and another just before sunrise (Sahari). Other bad habits, such as smoking, are also given up during Ramadan.
The philosophy of Ramadan
Ramadan marks the month that the Muslim holy book, the Qu’ran, was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. Muslims concentrate on their relationship with God, including extra prayer. That’s why most people will try to read the Qu’ran at least once during the month.
Fasting is also considered a spiritual exercise. By experiencing hunger and thirst participants are reminded of their fragility and also learn to be more compassionate towards the poor. Besides, people who fast should avoid any other sins. So their prayers would be accepted by God. That’s why Muslims have a more spiritual attitude whether they are fasting or not during month of Ramadan. People try to be friendlier, put on a smile and act a bit nicer. It is also reported by the police that the crime rate falls down during this holy month.
During Ramadan people empathize with the poor and the needy, learn to appreciate God’s blessings in their lives. Moreover, they try to sharing food with the poor, inviting people for the meal that breaks the fast (Iftar), donate to charity and other and many other good things to attract numerous divine rewards.
What is Eid-e Fetr?
Eid-e Fetr is actually ‘Festival of Breaking the Fast’ and is the celebration that marks the end of the month of Ramadan. Travelers in Iran can experience mass prayers that take place at the day of Eid-e Fetr.
Do all Iranians fast religiously during Ramadan?
In some religious cities like Qom and Mashad, a vast majority of people fast during Ramadan. But things are different among young people in cities like Shiraz or Tehran. In recent years Ramadan has been coincided with hot seasons. So it’s very hard for people not to drink water and eat food during the long days of summer. Young generation and people of modern cities like Tehran and Shiraz have learned how to sneak bites here and there or light up a cigarette in deserted alleys. But, in the older and more religious neighborhoods of Tehran people still fast.
Is everyone required to fast during Ramadan in Iran?
Fasting is one of the 5 pillars of Islam. Therefore, all followers are officially required to take part each year. However, there are some exceptions for Muslims. Believers can avoid fasting if they are:
- Pregnant or nursing
Moreover, Young children and the elderly are also not obliged to fast. Besides, Non-Muslims (locals and foreign visitors alike) are not required to fast in Iran. However, the courtesy and respect shown by not consuming food or drink in front of the fasting population is greatly appreciated.
Tourism in Iran during Ramadan
Many travelers are concerned about visiting Iran during Ramadan. They assume all the restaurants will be shut down during the day. While many Muslims fast, but this doesn’t mean no food can be found in Iran before sunset. Although many restaurants in tourist areas and in hotels will remain open, those away from these resorts might not open until later in the evening. In addition, some historic sites may close earlier than usual, tourists should check timetables in advance.
In Iran, Muslims should not avoid work or school during the month of Ramadan, although some businesses reduce working hours. Therefore, tourists can enjoy most of the usual activities and services available throughout the rest of the year.
How should I behave during Ramadan in Iran?
Considering the fact that Iran is an Islamic country, dress code is very important. So it is recommended that both men and women dress conservatively during the month of Ramadan.
During the month of Ramadan, you must avoid obviously eating, drinking and smoking in public areas during the day out of consideration for those observing the fast. So if an individual wants to eat or drink in daylight hours, it has to be done indoors and out of the public sight. But, it’s fine to eat or drink in some restaurants that are open or in your own hotel room.
Traditional Iranian Meals in Ramadan
Right after the sunset prayer, Muslims break their fast with an evening meal called Iftar. Typically, people will enjoy dates and milk, sweet tea, bread, cheese, fresh herbs, aash or porridge, halva, rice, and saffron pudding. These are some of what Iranians usually eat for Iftar meal (dinner). There are also some other traditional Iranian foods in Ramadan.
Although visiting to Iran during Ramadan imposes some restrictions on eating and drinking before sunset, it would be a good opportunity to test varieties of delicious Iranian foods particularly prepared for Iftar.
Generally, during Ramadan in Iran, most tourist attractions and also hotels are less crowded. Moreover, Ramadan is one of the best times that travelers can have a full view of Iranian traditional culture, belief, lifestyle and everything all together. In addition visitors can enjoy different tourist attractions. Travelers can taste various types of food from different regions and also the religious nightlife of people, which hugely increases in appearance during Ramadan!