Tuesday, September 7, 2010

According to the moon

People are always asking me to make an effort to go down to Brazil or meet them somewhere across the globe during one of the local public holidays. Everyone knows I love travelling and would jump at the opportunity to get around and catch-up. Problem is things here in the UAE are not like in many other places where a list of all public holidays is published way in advance.

While most countries follow the internationally accepted Gregorian calendar, Muslims follow the Hijri calendar, which began from the time of the migration (Hijra) of the Prophet Mohammad from Makkah to Madinah (in AD622).

The Hijri calendar is made up of 12 months (Muharram, Safar, Rabi Al Awwal, Rabi Al Thani, Jumada Al Ula, Jumada Al Akhira, Rajab, Sha’aban, Ramadan, Shawwal, Dhu Al Qa’da, Dhu Al Hijja) that are based on the phases and stages of the moon.

This means the Islamic calendar is consistently shorter, with a total of 354 days (11 less than the Gregorian calendar) and the months rotate backwards through the seasons, shifting with respect to the Christian calendar.

In practical terms, this means I can’t really make many plans in advance. I have to wait until the crescent moon is sighted before I can celebrate having a few days off or make plans to go anywhere.

I am actually waiting for the crescent moon right now to determine the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid Al Fitr, one of the most important holidays for the Muslims.

I already know that we are off from Wednesday, 29th of Ramadan (September 8), and that work will resume on the fourth day of Shawwal 1431 Hijri year. But, since we need to wait for the moon to establish the first day of Shawwal, I am still not sure if I will be back in the office on Sunday or Monday…

Anyway, while you are getting ready to get back to work after an extended weekend (in Brazil we are celebrating our Independence Day today!) I am off to enjoy a few days of pure relaxation.

Bye now!


  1. Dear BurCarioca

    wish you great pure relaxation during the holiday, I did enjoy all the information very much, even living here for the last 4 years I did not know some of the details, thanks.
    a few thing we learn living here: acceptance, patience and compassion and I am greatful for that.

  2. Nossa, morar sem endereço, não conseguir planejar nada com antecedência...tadinha da Mari! Muito louco!