When is Ramadan 2024 and how long does it last?

Ramadan is a holy occasion celebrated by Muslims worldwide. (Pexels)
Ramadan is a holy occasion celebrated by Muslims worldwide. (Pexels)

The blessed month of Ramadan serves as a time of reflection, contemplation, and celebration for Muslims all over the world.

The annual observance of this special month is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam and commemorates the Prophet Muhammad’s first revelation.

The Islamic calendar is based on lunar cycles, unlike our Gregorian calendar, so the exact dates of Ramadan change every year.

Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s Ramadan, including what the special occasion is all about and how long it is celebrated.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is held during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is a time for spiritual reflection, acts of charity, and spending time with loved ones.

Ramadan remembers the month the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. The night the Quran was revealed is known as Lailut ul-Qadr (”The Night of Power”).

Throughout the Ramadan period, adult Muslims of able body and mind start their day fasting, with a pre-dawn meal known as “suhur”.

Ramadan is a time for reflection, contemplation, and celebration (Rumman Amin, Unsplash)
Ramadan is a time for reflection, contemplation, and celebration (Rumman Amin, Unsplash)

The fasting involves abstaining from eating, drinking, and sexual intimacy until sunset.

Many observers also choose to stay away from smoking, taking medicine, and chewing gum during this time.

Those who are acutely or chronically ill, diabetic, menstruating, breastfeeding, or pregnant are not expected to fast, as well as children who haven’t hit puberty yet and the elderly.

During this time, studying the Quran, donating money to the needy, and committing more time to prayers are encouraged.

The fasting period concludes after sunset with a meal called “iftar”, where families and friends come together around the dinner table.

When is Ramadan and how long does it last?

As the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle, Ramadan rotates by approximately 10 days each year.

In the UK, Ramadan began on March 11, 2024, and is expected to conclude on April 9, 2024.

Elsewhere, Ramadan began on March 10, based on a moon sighting in Saudi Arabia.

What will happen in London to mark Ramadan?

Last year saw dedicated light displays being lit up throughout Piccadilly Circus with stars and moons decorating the street. So, it is likely that the lights will make a return this year, too.

Often, Ramadan sees groups meet across London, particularly at parks, to witness the moon which signifies the beginning of Ramadan.

Plus, several iftar events take place across the capital, which brings families and communities together.

When is Eid al Fitr 2024?

Eid al-Fitr is a festival that marks the end of Ramadan.

This year, it is set to begin on the evening of Wednesday, April 10.

What is Eid al-Adha and when does it start?

Eid al-Adha, also known as the Greater Eid, is regarded as the second-most important festival in the Muslim calendar.

Observed by Muslims around the world, it marks the culmination of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. It commemorates Abraham, who was willing to sacrifice his son to obey God, but was stopped by God who provided him with an animal to sacrifice instead.

To commemorate this, Muslims feast on an animal but will divide it into three parts. They give one part to the poor and those in need, another to friends, and keep one to have with their family.

In 2024, Eid al-Adha will be held between Sunday, June 16, and Wednesday, June 19.