Muslims in Southeast Asia and much of the Middle East will start their Ramadan fasts on Monday while those in places like India, Pakistan and Iran will likely start Islam’s holy month on Tuesday.
The holy month of Ramadan will begin on Monday, May 6 in most European countries.
Muslims follow a lunar calendar, and a moon-sighting methodology can lead to different countries declaring the start of Ramadan a day or two apart. Traditionally, countries announce if their moon-sighting council spots the Ramadan crescent the evening before fasting begins.
Across the world, Muslims fast each day for the entire month of Ramadan, abstaining from food and drink from dawn to dusk. That means around 15 hours without food, water, cigarettes or caffeine.
Fasting is aimed at drawing worshipers closer to God through self-control, remembrance and humility. The challenge of fasting for many is also a chance to reset spiritually and physically, kick bad habits and purify the heart.