This year Muslims in the northern hemisphere will face a challenging Ramadan. For the first time in over 30 years Ramadan falls in the same month as the summer equinox. This will create the longest fasting time possible and therefore the shortest time in which to break the fast.
The Islamic holy month, is expected to begin on Monday or Tuesday, depending on where you are situated. The dates of Ramadan, which are determined by the moon, move forward by 10 or 11 days each year in a 33-year cycle, following a lunar calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar.
During Ramadan, many Muslims fast between dawn and sunset, which is called “Oruç” in Turkish, abstaining from food, drink, smoking and sex. This year the daily fast could be as long 20 hours in some places, in previous years when Ramadan has taken place in the middle of winter the fast can be as short as eight hours.
Elderly, the fragile and people who are medication are not expected to take part. Pregnant and menstruating women, and children who have not hit puberty, are also exempt from fasting.
Muslims in the Scottish Highlands and islands face the longest fasting period in the UK. The most northerly mosque in the UK is based in Inverness. Here it never really gets dark. The sun does set but the light appears to be dusk all night.
Inverness is home to a few hundred Muslims. Many employers make special allowances for staff who are fasting, allowing shifts to be moved earlier in the day when energy levels are higher and giving people time out to pray.
So this year, spare a thought for your fellow neighbours and colleagues. And if you are on holiday in Turkey, spare a thought for your waiter who is serving you a nice cold beer!
The majority religion in Turkey is Islam. However, there are many different strains. To read further about races and religions please follow this link Busted Myths