SINGAPORE, 14 April 2021: Muslims celebrated the start of this year’s Islamic holy month of fasting known as Ramadan on 12 April, as the first moon of a new lunar cycle became visible in Mecca.
While the length of the Islamic month of fasting is the same for all Muslims, the duration of the daily fast certainly is not.
Because Muslims vow to abstain from eating and drinking during daylight hours, those living further north have to go without food and drink for much longer than their counterparts living closer to the equator or even in the southern hemisphere, which is celebrating Ramadan during winter.
Muslims fasting for Ramadan in Oslo theoretically have to do so for more than 18 hours, according to the website islamicfinder.com.
Muslims in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, fast for approximately 13.5 hours. Finally, Melbourne in the Southern Hemisphere only has daylight hours of about 12 hours, depending on the exact day of the Ramadan month.
Some Muslims in northern countries seem to feel unfairly treated by the lunar forces that govern Ramadan and found alternative solutions.
According to reporting by Der Spiegel, the town of Tromsø in the very north of Norway has adopted the fasting hours of Mecca (approximately 14 hours in 2021).
Ramadan is based on the lunar calendar, which consists of a 12 month year of approximately 354 days, so each lunar month moves 11 days each year.
According to the Islamic Networks Group, fasting periods can range from 11 to 16 hours per day. Before fasting each day, Muslims will begin with a pre-fast meal called suhur, and then begin the fajr, the first prayer of the day. At dusk, Muslims celebrate with the meal known as the iftar, which means “breaking the fast,” often shared with family and friends.
(Source: Statista data journalist Katharina Buchholz)