What’s Fez like in Ramadan?
Ramadan this year (2014) will start around 28 June and should finish around 27 July (on sighting the new moon). The fast moves forward 11 days each calendar year in accordance with the Islamic calendar, which is based on lunar months. Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and smoking during daylight hours. Cafés and restaurants are closed during the day and some close altogether during Ramadan as the staff take their annual holiday. Establishments around Bab Boujloud and some restaurants catering solely for tourists remain open during the day. The others reopen for f’tour, or breakfast, at around 17h30 when people take their first meal of the day. It is impossible to get a taxi between 17h00 and 18h00. It’s also best not to be walking in the medina at this time as anyone else around when they should be eating will be up to no good! Evenings are lively with a party atmosphere and there are often funfairs in public places. Moroccans eat dinner at around 22h00 – 23h00 and get up before dawn to eat breakfast before the first call to prayer. You might be lucky enough to hear the singer who wanders the streets to wake people at around 3h00 so that they can finish eating before dawn. Tempers can fray towards the end of the afternoon …
Alcohol is not available in the supermarkets and off-licences are closed from three days before Ramadan until three days after the Eid (celebrations at the end of Ramadan). It is available to foreigners in licensed restaurants, but sometimes the bar or restaurant might run out of some drinks.
It’s good to be aware that this is a holy month and clothing should be more conservative than usual. It’s respectful not to eat, smoke or drink on the streets during this time.
Business hours also change, with banks, post offices and shops opening later and closing earlier so that staff can get home in time for f’tour. Often the opening hours displayed outside banks and post offices do not relate to Ramadan.