DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Last minute preparations are underway as Muslims around the world stock up on groceries and dates for evening meals to break dawn-to-dusk fasting during the month of Ramadan.
Saudi Arabia and other Muslim-majority nations, like Egypt and Indonesia, declared Ramadan would begin Thursday based on a moon-sighting methodology. 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.
Some mosques in the U.S. have already declared the start of fasting Wednesday while others will begin Thursday.
The Ramadan fast, in which food and even water is prohibited, is intended to bring the faithful closer to God and remind them of those less fortunate. It is also a chance to kick addictions like caffeine and cigarettes.