Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 20 October 2019

When is Ramadan expected to begin?

The holy month will begin in May but a start date is not yet known

Muslims were called on to report sightings of the new crescent moon  to mark the start of Dhu Al Hijjah. Pawan Singh / The National
Muslims were called on to report sightings of the new crescent moon  to mark the start of Dhu Al Hijjah. Pawan Singh / The National

Ramadan is now less than a week away - but the exact date it starts will depend on the sighting of the moon.

So when can we expect it to begin?

Astronomers predict the first day of Ramadan will this year fall on Monday, May 6.

The start of the holy month will be confirmed by a moon-sighting committee looking out for a viewing of the crescent moon with the naked eye.

Because the holy month is decided by the Islamic calendar, which consists of 12 lunar months totalling either 354 or 355 days, it moves up to 10 days earlier in the Gregorian calendar each year.

So for example, last year, the first day of Ramadan fell on May 16, and this year it should begin on May 6.

And because it is moving further away from the longest day in June, this year’s fast will be the shortest in four years.

“This year the [fasting period] will be shorter than last year, because of the starting date,” said Hasan Al Hariri, the chief executive of Dubai Astronomy Group.

It will continue to get shorter over the next decade, until 2030, when the holy month is predicted to begin on December 25, with a fasting time of around 10 hours.

Muslims in the UAE will not see a fast as long as this year’s again until 2042, when Ramadan will again occur during the summer.

But back to this year.

The fasting period will be between 13 and 14 hours each day.

The holy month can last either 29 days or 30 days. And this year it is expected to be on the longer side, lasting 30 days, according to Mr Al Hariri, which means the final day of Ramadan should fall on June 5.

According to the list of public holidays released for this year and next, the Eid holiday will begin on the 29th day of Ramdan and last until 3 Shawwal – meaning the Eid holiday will start on Tuesday, June 4 and last until Friday, June 8.

Updated: May 1, 2019 12:07 PM

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