When is Ramadan 2021? Start and end dates and UK timetable

RAMADAN is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar for Muslims across the globe as they abstain from eating or drinking between dawn and sundown.

Muslims normally attend mosques for prayers each day during Ramadan, but with some lockdown measures in place will this year be different? Here's all you need to know…

What is Ramadan? 

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims are obliged to abstain from eating or drinking during daylight hours.

If a fast is broken, it will need to be compensated for by fasting at a later date.

Or they can pay "fidyah", a religious term for donation of food or money.

Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, so all adult Muslims are expected to fast.

It is thought abstaining from these activities will lead to greater "taqwa", or consciousness of God.

Sehri is the pre-dawn meal Muslims eat before fasting begins.

It should be a hearty, healthy meal to provide needed energy throughout a day of fasting — it ends when the sun rises and the fajr, or morning prayer, begins.

Iftar and maghrib prayers take place when Muslims break fasting.

The meal at sunset often includes dates and involves sharing in the community.

The month is traditionally viewed as an opportunity to devote, reflect and celebrate the mercy and love of Allah, while the fasting ritual aids reflection on the suffering of others.

Those observing the fast are encouraged to read the Koran.

The holy text is recited at the Tarawih, which are special nightly prayers that would normally be held at mosques.

When is Ramadan 2021 and how long does it last? 

The first day of fasting begins on April, 12, 2021.

Fasting will begin at sunrise after suhur and then finish at sunset with iftar.

The fast is 30 days long.

The final iftar should take place on the evening of May 12.

Who takes part in fasting? 

All Muslims who have reached puberty are expected to fast during Ramadan, although there are some exceptions.

Women who are menstruating or pregnant and those suffering from illness do not have to fast.

Muslim children are expected to begin fasting once they have reached puberty, usually by the age of 14.

There is no national law that prevents young children or teens from fasting.

The NHS advises against children below the age of eight from participating in the fast.

Advice from the national health body reads: "It's a good idea to make children aware of what fasting involves and to practice fasting for a few hours at a time."

How will Ramadan be different this year? 

Last year due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, gatherings in mosques were not allowed.

However this year mosques are not closed, but things will still be a little different.

Mosques will open – but for limited numbers and shorter services.

To attend prayers people will need to register – including for Ramadan night-time prayers known as Taraweeh.

And children under 10, adults over 60, those with coronavirus symptoms and people who are high risk should not attend.

Worshippers should also bring their own prayer mats and wear face masks. 

Social distancing will be in place and toilets are closed.

Those who can not attend should worship from home and Mosques may organise live streams.

What do you say on the first day of Ramadan? 

Most Muslims use the Arabic translation "Ramadan Mubarak" to greet each other, which means "Happy Ramadan".

Or you can say 'Ramadan Kareem' which translates into 'Have a generous Ramadan'. 

On the last day of Ramadan, to mark Eid al-Fitr, people often say 'Eid Mubarak'.

These can be used by anyone as a well-wish to those who celebrate the holy month.

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