However, studies have shown that fasting people tend to increase their calorie intake during the month of Ramadan. Muslims, especially those living in Islamic regions, tend to socialize and eat out in social gatherings more often between sunset and sunrise the next day.
As the Islamic lunar calendar is eleven days shorter than the solar Gregorian calendar, Ramadan shifts every year earlier by eleven days. In 2019, Ramadan is calculated to take place from May 6th to June 5th. The length of the fasting day varies from location to location, depending on the latitude of each location. This year Ramadan will take place during the summer of the northern hemisphere, resulting in long fasting hours in northern regions and shorter fasting hours in the southern hemisphere.
During the month of Ramadan, retail and hospitality businesses experience a sharp increase in sales not only in predominately Islamic countries but also in those with prominent Muslim minorities. Furthermore, countries like the United Kingdom experience an increase in retail sales by tourists from the Gulf region, which has been described as “Ramadan rush”.
In the Middle Eastern and North African region school, business and working hours are traditionally reduced. People spend more time being with their families, going to their mosque, praying, and other religious duties like reading the Quran. However, Ramadan is prime time for TV consumption, as viewing increases by a significant amount. Major new TV series and films are released during this month, which also affects advertisement sales and prices. After the Hajj pilgrimage, Ramadan is the period that sees the largest number of pilgrims going to Mecca.
The end of Ramadan is marked with a three-day festival called Eid al Fitr, when Muslims who have fasted donate the equivalent of two kilograms of wheat or rice per household person in their local currency to charity, exchange gifts with loved ones, and celebrate with feasts. Whilst Ramadan and Eid al Fitr are very special times of the year for the Muslim community, it is considered second in importance to Eid al Adha, the Islamic festival of sacrifice that marks the end of Hajj.