Jordan is widely agreed to be one of the most hospitable countries to visit, especially for those who are curious about the cultures and lifestyles of those who live in the Middle East. For one lunar cycle each year though, planning a visit becomes more complicated as the 96% of people who practice Islam observe Ramadan and there are various restrictions that come with it.
You can absolutely visit Jordan during Ramadan, but there are some special considerations to keep in mind. Exploring the country during Ramadan in Jordan will require you to plan ahead with tours and meals, and practice being an even more culturally sensitive traveler than during other times of the year.
While you’ll likely find that Jordanians won’t correct you on breaking the observances of Ramadan, assuming you aren’t Muslim, by modifying your own behavior while visiting during Ramadan, you’ll build a stronger bridge between Jordanian culture and your own.
This post aims to answer all the main questions one might have about visiting Jordan during the month of Ramadan; if you have additional questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below to help other travelers too.
Do They Celebrate Ramadan in Jordan?
When visiting the Middle-East hotspot, many travelers are unsure whether Jordan’s people celebrate Ramadan. The answer is yes. As a Muslim-majority nation, Jordan participates in Ramadan, and its population engages in the typical religious practices.
Before we dive deep into the considerations travelers need to consider when visiting Jordan during Ramadan, let me explain briefly what this holiday is and means for locals.
Ramadan, also known as Ramadhan or Ramzan, is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar when Muslims worldwide fast (sawm) from dawn to sunset. Additionally, they don’t drink, smoke, or engage in sexual intercourse during the fast.
As one of the Five Pillars of Islam, the holiday lasts twenty-nine to thirty days and starts from one sighting of the crescent moon to the next. The last third of Ramadan holds the greatest spiritual significance to Muslims as it commemorates when angel Jibrīl (Gabriel in English) revealed to Prophet Muhammad the Koran’s (Qu’ran) first verses.
When is Ramadan in Jordan?
Ramadan always falls in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. However, its date always changes because Islam uses the lunar calendar, which is shorter than the solar one. Consequently, Ramadan starts 10–12 days earlier each year.
In 2023, Ramadan in Jordan starts on Thursday, March 23, and ends on Saturday, April 22 – please, keep in mind these are tentative dates, and the final, official dates of Ramadan will be determined closer to the dates based on the moon phases.
|Monday, March 10
|Tuesday, April 9
|Friday, February 28
|Sunday, March 30
|Tuesday, February 17
|Wednesday, March 18
|Sunday, February 7
|Monday, March 8
Visiting Jordan During Ramadan
Visiting Jordan during Ramadan gives travelers a unique opportunity to experience local life. However, certain religious practices will sometimes interfere with the tourism industry’s normal functioning. Let’s look at what you can expect in city life, tours, and restaurants during Ramadan in Jordan.
When it comes to how Ramadan affects city life, you’ll notice there’s a huge difference before and after sunset. In Amman, businesses like banks, Government offices, and tourist places operate as usual, though they close earlier during Ramadan.
You’ll also notice that the streets get crazy busy after sunset. After sunset is when people go out to get food for the iftar; the meal Muslims eat to break the fast after sunset during Ramadan – as a heads up, avoid driving around downtown just before iftar as the Amman streets become racing tracks filled with hungry drivers rushing to get home and eat. (Imagine a whole country of nearly-hangry people!)
Tours & Activities
Jordan’s tourist attractions open daily, and you can book tours to visit any of them as you would any other time of the year. However, beware that tour guides and drivers will be fasting and praying; hence they may reduce their working hours to allow time for these practices.
Moreover, you may notice their energy levels are not as high.
Enjoying Jordanian food is one of the best experiences to have while visiting Jordan, and you might worry that you won’t be able to if everyone is fasting during your visit to Jordan during Ramadan.
As a general rule, restaurants don’t open during the day in Jordan during Ramadan. You can always find restaurants or food stores that remain open and serve food for non-Muslims in touristic areas and fancy hotels. Restaurants do open later before the iftar meal to serve takeaway food.
Regarding liquor stores, you won’t find any open during Ramadan. The only way to get a drink is to find hotels with a bar, as these are the only venues permitted to serve alcohol.
Other FAQ About Ramadan in Jordan
As it is a complex topic, I’ve included a brief Ramadan FAQ section covering important aspects travelers must survey when they visit Jordan during Ramadan.
Should visitors fast in Jordan during Ramadan?
No, locals don’t expect travelers or non-Muslims to fast during Ramadan. However, you need to be respectful and refrain from eating during daylight in public spaces. Eating in public is technically illegal during fasting hours in Jordan, and those who do can get a fine. Plus, they can expect to have thousands of angry locals frowning upon them. The same principle applies to drinking water and smoking. You don’t want to publicly engage in any of these activities from sunrise to sunset.
Should you visit Jordan during Ramadan?
There’s no definite answer to this question and what you ultimately decide to do depends on what trip you want to make out of Jordan.
Adventurous travelers who would like to see and experience a more authentic side of the country will have a blast visiting Jordan during Ramadan. While they don’t have to observe Ramadan or its practices, tourists can experience them indirectly by witnessing how locals engage in them.
However, travelers who don’t want to compromise their activities or don’t want to be extra careful when eating or drinking should abstain from traveling to Jordan during Ramadan. While I’ve already stated that the holiday doesn’t interfere with tours, they definitely will be subject to religious practices as the people who organize and operate them are locals observing Ramadan.
Can you drink wine in Jordan during Ramadan?
As I said before, liquor stores are closed during Ramadan, and alcohol consumption is not permitted during daylight hours. However, you can drink wine and other alcoholic beverages in larger hotels. Like eating and smoking, travelers should refrain from drinking alcohol in public areas.
Despite having a more relaxed attitude towards alcohol than most Muslim countries, Jordan still has strict laws for drinking alcohol publicly during Ramadan, and they make no exceptions for tourists.
Do you have other questions about visiting Jordan during Ramadan? Let me know in the comments.