This year it is expected to be celebrated without the restrictive measures of the last two years, as it is understood that the current pandemic situation is somewhat under control. Another of the questions that are usually delayed is to know the exact date of the start of Ramadan, which this year begins on 2 April and ends on 2 May.
Let us remember that Moroccans had to celebrate Ramadan in 2021 under strong restrictive measures due to the Covid-19 pandemic, including a curfew from 8 pm to 6 am, which forced the faithful to perform the Tarawih prayers (voluntary prayers that only take place during the month of Ramadan) locked in their homes.
Ramadan refers to the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, the origin of this celebration comes from the Prophet Mohammed and is due to his first revelation. Ramadan is considered one of the Five Pillars of Islam, lasting approximately 30 days, depending on the month.
It is celebrated in Morocco as in any other country where Islam is practised. Devotion and dedication to Islam are also practised. The most important abstinence is fasting, which is done during the hours when the sun is shining, during which time no one is allowed to eat or drink until the sun has gone down. Moroccans, in addition to the religious and spiritual virtues of Ramadan, believe that the biological virtues are also very important, such as undergoing a severe fast for one month of the year. Generally speaking, however, fasting is said to be a beneficial state for the body and should be done very occasionally.
The fasting period starts with the beginning of a new moon in the crescent phase and ends when the lunar cycle has ended, so each year the celebration is brought forward by 11 to 12 days. During Ramadan, healthy adults fast from sunrise to sunset; this includes abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking, having sex or committing any act considered immoral. For Islam, Ramadan is a time for prayer, reading the Quran and charitable activities.
The fast is broken by drinking dates and water, as the Prophet Muhammad is believed to have done. As with all celebrations, there are certain details to keep in mind. Breakfast, also known as suhoor, is eaten in the early hours of the morning at around 4am, always after the first prayer, known as jafr. The evening meal, after breaking the fast, is known as iftar.
Morocco is a religious country, which means that on dates like this the population feels that it is time to purify the soul, which in some way is linked to social behaviour, the relationship with others and behaviour with oneself. Let's say that these are dates for impeccable behaviour, in ethical and moral terms. On the other hand, self-discipline and the ability to renounce vices are demanded. Moroccans use this celebration to make an examination of conscience in which the purpose is to meditate on all the bad things that have happened to them during the year in order to wipe the slate clean and start afresh.
As we have already mentioned, Muslims follow a lunar calendar, which means that the beginning of Ramadan does not coincide with the same date each year. It begins with the new moon on the last day of the eighth month of the Islamic calendar, although the exact date is not known until a few days beforehand; the imam is traditionally the person who indicates the beginning by observing the sky to identify the first sign of a crescent moon.