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Ramadan Start in the United Kingdom

During Ramadan, also called Ramadhan or Ramzan, Muslims in the UK and around the world celebrate the revelation of the Quran (Koran).

The Ramadan evening meal (iftar) often includes dates.
The iftar, the Ramadan evening meal, often includes dates, bread, water, soups, and stews.
©iStockphoto.com/ilkaydede

Ramadan in the Islamic Calendar

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, so the Ramadan celebrations begin on Ramadan 1 each year. Muslims use a lunar calendar which differs in length from the Gregorian calendar used worldwide.

This means the Gregorian date of Muslim holidays, including Ramadan, shifts slightly from one year to the next, falling about 11 days earlier each year.

Ramadan Date Depends on Moon Sighting

The timing of Muslim months and holidays depends on the sighting of the Moon's crescent following New Moon. Because the Moon's visibility depends on clear skies and a number of other factors, the exact date for the first day of Ramadan cannot be predicted with certainty.

Also, since the Moon is never visible in all world regions at once and current local dates can vary from one country to another, Ramadan may begin on different dates according to a country's longitude and time zone. Depending on their country of origin or cultural affiliation, some Muslims in the UK may, therefore, begin celebrating Ramadan one day earlier than others.

Is the First Day of Ramadan a Public Holiday?

While the beginning of Ramadan carries great significance for Muslims, there are no bank holidays associated with this particular date in the United Kingdom. However, since the Gregorian date of Muslim holidays changes every year, the first day of Ramadan can fall on other UK bank holidays.

Islamic businesses and organizations may amend opening hours to suit prayer times during Ramadan. There may also be some congestion around mosques, such as the London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park, especially in the evenings.

Ramadan Events and Traditions

Muslims around the world, including in the United Kingdom, celebrate Ramadan by fasting during daylight hours, praying, reciting the Quran, and by giving to charity. The traditions associated with Ramadan are most visible in the country's many mosques and in predominantly Muslim neighborhoods, such as Edgware Road in London.

Political leaders in the United Kingdom, including the prime minister, may make public announcements on the first day of Ramadan to greet Muslims both locally and globally and to raise the general public's awareness of the holiday's importance among Muslims.

Ramadan Fasting

The Ramadan fast (sawm) is one of the Five Pillars, fundamental religious duties of Islam, so most Muslims in the UK abstain from eating and drinking during daylight hours. It is common to have one meal (suhoor) just before sunrise and an evening meal (iftar) after sunset.

Designed to increase self-awareness and facilitate deeper religious devotion, the Ramadan fast can be challenging in countries like the United Kingdom, where days can last for up to 16 or 17 hours during the summer months. To help people avoid health complications when they fast, the United Kingdom’s Department of Health produced a guide to healthy fasting during Ramadan.

Charity

Ramadan is also a time for Muslims to donate to charity or contribute to the community by participating in food drives for the poor, organizing a collection or charity event, and other voluntary activities. This practice is called Zakat.

Religious Devotion

Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Quran during Ramadan. In mosques around the UK, Taraweeh, special night prayers, are held every day after sundown. Ramadan Qu’ran competitions may be held for both children and adults.

Ramadan Greetings: “Ramadan Mubarak” and “Ramadan Kareem”

It is common to exchange Ramadan greetings during the holy month. The most common greetings are Ramadan Kareem, which is used to wish the recipient a generous Ramadan, and Ramadan Mubarak, which means “Happy Ramadan” or “Blessed Ramadan.”

Why Is Ramadan Celebrated?

During Ramadan, Muslims in the UK and around the world celebrate the Quran, which is why it is also often called the month of the Quran. According to the Muslim faith, the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad during the last third of Ramadan.

It is also believed that the gates of Heaven are open and the gates of Hell are closed during Ramadan, creating perfect conditions for charitable deeds and religious immersion.

Ramadan Holidays

The Ramadan celebration culminates on Laylat Al-Qadr on Ramadan 27. According to most Muslim denominations, this is the date when the Quran was actually revealed.

Eid-al-Fitr on the first day of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar, marks the end of Ramadan.

Who Observes Ramadan in the UK?

With nearly 2.8 million Muslims living in the United Kingdom, which equals about 4.8% of the population, Islam constitutes the second largest religion in the country, after Christianity. The largest Muslim community can be found in London. The municipalities of Bradford, Luton, Blackburn, Birmingham, and Dewsbury also have significant Muslim populations.

About Ramadan Start in other countries

Read more about Ramadan Start.

Ramadan Start Observances

Note: Regional customs or moon sightings may cause a variation of the date for Islamic holidays, which begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday. The Islamic calendar is lunar and the days begin at sunset, so there may be one-day error depending on when the New Moon is first seen.

Ramadan Start in the United Kingdom has not been observed since 2017.

Holiday currently only shown for years 2000–2049.

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
WedAug 112010Ramadan StartMuslim 
MonAug 12011Ramadan StartMuslim 
FriJul 202012Ramadan StartMuslim 
TueJul 92013Ramadan StartMuslim 
SunJun 292014Ramadan StartMuslim 
ThuJun 182015Ramadan StartMuslim 
MonJun 62016Ramadan StartMuslim 
SatMay 272017Ramadan StartMuslim 
WedMay 162018Ramadan StartMuslim 
MonMay 62019Ramadan StartMuslim 
FriApr 242020Ramadan StartMuslim 

Quick Facts

Muslims in the United Kingdom welcome Ramadan as a period of fasting, self-evaluation, and spiritual growth.

Ramadan Start 2018

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Ramadan Start 2019

Monday, May 6, 2019

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Ramadan Start
Note: Regional customs or moon sightings may cause a variation of the date for Islamic holidays, which begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday. The Islamic calendar is lunar and the days begin at sunset, so there may be one-day error depending on when the New Moon is first seen.

List of dates for other years

Related holidays

Other holidays in May 2019 in the United Kingdom

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