The month of Muslim fasting (Ramadan) starts Monday in eight Arab countries and in Iran on Tuesday, the religious authorities in those countries said Saturday.
Saudi Arabia, which is home to the two main holy Muslim religious sites -- Mecca and Medina -- set Monday as the first day of Ramadan, followed by the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait.
Further west, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia and the Palestinians will also begin the month of fasting Monday, while eastwards, Iran will begin Tuesday.
The Muslim calendar is based on the lunar cycle, with the dates of the start and end of Ramadan varying each year according to the appearance of the full moon.
Monday also marks the start of Ramadam observance in France.
During the month, Muslims must fast, not drink or smoke or have sexual relations from dawn to dusk -- NICOSIA (AFP)
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