If you not a Muslim and are new to Saudi Arabia and experiencing Ramadan first time in Saudi Arabia, there are few important things you should know about the rules, regulations and customs during the month of Ramadan.
Ramadan is the 9th month of Arabic calender also called the Hijri calender which is based on lunar cycle as opposed to solar cycle of the Gregorian/English calender. In this month, the Muslims all over the world fast from dawn to dusk, that is they refrain from eating and drinking in order strengthen their faith and self-restrain. Saudi Arabia, being 100% Muslim country has strict rules and traditions regarding Ramadan.
Non-Muslim expatriates are expected to respect the fellow Muslims who are fasting and it is advisable to avoid eating or drinking or smoking in front of them during the daytime. The same should be avoided in any public place. This prohibition includes chewing gum. However there is no restrictions in eating & drinking at night time after sunset.
Further you will realize the time table has changed at most hotels and restaurants.
Most of the restaurants will be closed till sunset. Some of them will open just before sunset like around 4 pm. So you may want to plan accordingly.
Following are some of the things to keep in mind:
1. Avoid eating & drinking during from sunrise to sunset in public or at workplace.
2. Smoking during day time is prohibited
3. Chewing gum is not allowed during daytime.
4. Plan your breakfast and lunch at home.