Saudi Arabia announces the start date of Ramadan 2024.

Saudi Arabia's Islamic authorities have officially declared March 11 as the commencement of Ramadan for the year 2024.

This announcement follows the confirmation by the country's specialized moon-sighting committee that the crescent moon was sighted, signaling the beginning of Ramadan in the Gulf region.

In contrast, Ramadan in Saudi Arabia is projected to span 30 days, whereas in Morocco, Muslims anticipate observing the fast for 29 days this year. The crescent moon sighting committee of Morocco is yet to finalize the start date of Ramadan, with expectations leaning towards an announcement on March 12, as suggested by astronomers.

Ramadan observances vary across different countries, with unique customs observed during iftar, the evening meal to break the fast. However, fundamental Islamic practices such as charity, known as Zakat, and religious rituals remain consistent.

Throughout Ramadan, Muslims engage in additional prayers following the night prayers known as isha as part of their spiritual devotion during the holy month. The streets, particularly in the Middle East, are illuminated with decorative lights and traditional lanterns resembling the moon, known as fanous, adorning homes and public spaces. Notably, Egypt is renowned for its widespread use of fanous during Ramadan. According to the official government website Visit Saudi Arabia, this tradition is particularly celebrated on the 13th, 14th, or 15th day of Ramadan.

In a cultural context, Gargee'an, likened to Halloween in some respects, is a significant event during Ramadan. Children dress in traditional attire, visit neighbors singing traditional songs, and receive sweets—a festive occasion that fosters community spirit and celebration. Firas Al Rkhayes, an Arabic language teacher, underscored the importance of this tradition, highlighting its role in strengthening cultural bonds within communities.

Read also: 39 Fuel Stations Closed by Saudi Authorities for Violations

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