Ramadan Do’s and Don’ts in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is a strict religious country. As Ramadan approaches, you should keep in mind the following things.

DO
#1. Work Hours: Saudi Arabia reduces the working day to a maximum of six hours for Muslims and 36 hours per week. This is to accommodate those who are fasting.
#2. Eid Holiday: Muslim and non-Muslim employees are entitled to a four-day paid vacation for the Eid holiday, as per article 112 of the Saudi Labor Law. The vacation amount can be as much as 15 days, depending on the employer
#3. Dress Appropriately: Visitors should take care in ensuring they are dressing modestly during the month of Ramadan.
#4. Exchange Ramadan Greetings: It is custom to use the greeting ‘Ramadan Kareem’ when meeting Muslims, and at the end of Ramadan, during Eid celebrations, the greeting ‘Eid Mubarak’ is used.
#5. Be Charitable: During Ramadan, taking time to be generous and charitable to the less fortunate is a part of the essence of the month.
#6. Attend Iftar: Accept invitations to Iftar meals. It is courteous to bring a gift or a dish to contribute.
#7. Allow Time for Traffic: The 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.
#8. Expect Delays in Government Departments: Due to reduced working hours, governmental departments may experience delays.

DO NOT
#1. Eat & Drink In Public: Note that chewing gum constitutes as eating. It is considered disrespectful to eat during fasting hours and can lead to severe disciplinary action.
#2. Smoking: During Ramadan, smoking in public is not allowed until after the evening Taraweeh prayer at sunset, and in Saudi Arabia, there will be few places that allow smoking during the month.
#3. Public Displays Of Affection: This is the same as other times of the year, but especially during Ramadan, avoid public acts of affection.
#4. Play Loud Music: For foreigners experiencing Ramadan for the first time, it is important to stay respectful to those fasting.