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Guide to Ramadan

The holy Qu'ran's injunction to Muslims to fast during Ramadan
Above: The holy Qu'ran's injunction to Muslims to fast during Ramadan

Every year, some of our tours will take place during Ramadan, when adherents of the Muslim faith fast during daylight hours.

In general, there is a festive feel to the country, and there are lights and lanterns strung up throughout the towns and cities. In the evenings during Ramadan, the evening meal called Iftar [breaking the fast] is a happy occasion, which often breaks into a lively party celebration - an interesting feature to visitors. Ramadan culminates in a three-day celebration called Eid al-Fitr, which involves joyous feasting and goodwill.

Ramadan lasts for one month (from the 11th August to the 9th September in 2010, and  from the 1st to the 29th August in 2011) and results in many businesses closing during daylight hours, particularly in the afternoon. However this does not generally apply to businesses that cater predominantly to tourists.

Some of the tourist sites will close earlier (around 3.00pm), so we will be taking this into account and starting some of your tours a little earlier in the morning on some days and shortening lunch breaks when required.

Although visiting non-Muslims are certainly not expected to fast during daylight hours, it is considered impolite to openly eat, drink or smoke in public, the exception being in obvious tourist areas. Hotels and restaurants will still be serving food to tourists all day, and evening meals in the hotels are particularly good at this time of year.

In general, we feel that travelling in Egypt during Ramadan is an interesting and altogether animated experience and will further add to your cultural knowledge of the country.

During Ramadan, it is very courteous and considered polite to greet Muslim people with the words - Ramadam Karim.

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