The important Sudanese holidays are religious. Muslims follow a lunar calendar.

Perhaps the most important Islamic holiday is after the month of Ramadan. For the entire month, faithful Muslims fast from dawn to sunset in order to strengthen themselves spiritually. No food or water is allowed until sundown when the fast is broken with the family meal called fa-tur. At the end of the month of Ramadan is a feast holiday, Eid-al-Fitr. Another religious holiday marks the annual Hajj, or pilgrimage, to Mecca in the middle of the twelfth month of the Muslim calendar.

Every Friday for Muslims, and Sunday for Christians, is considered a day of worship and shops and offices are closed. Christmas Day is celebrated on December 25.

The non-religious, public holidays include January 1, Sudan's Independence Day, when there are military parades. Unity Day on March 27, commemorates the signing of the Addis Ababa Agreement in 1972.

Did you know?

On Mulid al-nabi, the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed for Muslims, and Christmas and Easter for Christians, there are celebrations in the streets with festivals, lights and special sweets.