Saudi Arabia is a religiously conservative country. You should keep the following things in mind as Ramadan approaches.
- Working Hours: Saudi Arabia limits Muslim workers to six hours of work per day and 36 hours per week. This is to make room for people who are fasting.
- Eid Holiday: According to article 112 of the Saudi Labor Law, both Muslim and non-Muslim employees are entitled to a four-day paid vacation for the Eid holiday. Depending on the employer, the vacation period can last up to 15 days.
- Dress Appropriately: During the month of Ramadan, visitors should ensure that they are dressed modestly.
- Exchange Ramadan Greetings: When meeting Muslims, it is customary to greet them with the greeting ‘Ramadan Kareem,’ and at the end of Ramadan, during Eid celebrations, the greeting ‘Eid Mubarak’ is used.
- Be Charitable: During Ramadan, taking time to be generous and charitable to the less fortunate is a part of the essence of the month.
- Attend Iftar: Accept invitations to Iftar meals. It is courteous to bring a gift or a dish to contribute.
- Allow Time for Traffic: Traffic is heaviest 30 minutes before sunset. Roads are congested as people head out to break their fast at Iftars with friends, family, or colleagues.
- Expect Delays in Government Departments: Due to reduced working hours, governmental departments may experience delays.
- Eat & Drink In Public: It’s worth noting that chewing gum counts as eating. Eating during fasting hours is considered disrespectful and can result in severe disciplinary action.
- Smoking: Smoking in public is prohibited during Ramadan until after the evening Taraweeh prayer at sunset, and there will be few places to smoke in Saudi Arabia during the month.
- Public Displays of Affection: Avoid public displays of affection at all times of the year, but especially during Ramadan.
- Play Loud Music: It is important for foreigners who are experiencing Ramadan for the first time to be respectful of those who are fasting.