On May 15-16, Muslims in Bahrain and elsewhere in the world will begin their month-long celebration of Ramadan. The end of the month of Ramadan, marked by Eid-el-Fitr celebrations, will take place between June 14-16. Though practices can vary by country, businesses, restaurants, and government administrations may operate on a reduced schedule during this holy month.
Transportation disruptions are to be anticipated during this period due to increased number of travelers, especially in airports. Heavy traffic after sundown (particularly on weekends) is to be anticipated as Muslims typically gather to celebrate the holy month with family. Furthermore, traffic accidents tend to increase during Ramadan (especially at dusk) due to a combination of exhaustion, hunger, dehydration, and impatience.
Local authorities typically report a heightened terrorism threat during the month of Ramadan, and increased security measures should be expected in major urban areas. Authorities also typically observe an increase in incidents of petty crime during this period.
Ramadan is a period of reflection and self-restraint and it carries great significance within the Muslim calendar. Muslims traditionally observe daytime fasting and are called to practice increased devotion and abstain from certain activities.
More generally, this period also marks a significant increase in the regional terror threat in many Muslim-majority countries across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. In recent years, Islamic State (IS), as well as other groups, have called on their fighters to perpetrate attacks during the holy month of Ramadan.
It is advised not to eat, drink, or smoke in public throughout this period in more conservative neighborhoods or areas. Travelers are also advised to allow additional time for travel and to avoid any form of public demonstration or public gathering.
In general, various Western governments advise their citizens in Bahrain to remain extremely vigilant at all times while in the country due to the extant terrorist threat and to avoid public places lacking adequate security. Moreover, IED attacks often target security forces and other government installations; individuals in Bahrain are consequently advised to stay away from sites that are deemed particularly likely to be targeted (e.g. ministries, public buildings, police patrols, military zones, etc.).