The run up to Ramadan 2021

Thursday, 8 April 2021

With Easter now behind us, the next big event on the sheep meat market calendar is the Muslim festival of Ramadan.

Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, during which Muslims abstain from the consumption of food from dawn to sunset. Because the Islamic calendar is lunar, the dates for the festivals move forward 10 or 11 days every year. This year, Ramadan should to begin on 12/13 April and run to 12/13 May, depending on the sighting of the moon.

Although many think of Ramadan as a fasting festival, Muslims fast during the daylight and then typically would break the fast by having large meals with family and friends, in which lamb features heavily.

Eid al-Fitr is the festival of breaking the fast and is celebrated a day after the end of Ramadan. Families usually gather for the Eid al-Fitr celebration and sheep meat is typically used in kebabs and curries.

Eid al-Adha or Qurbani

Another key time for sheep meat consumption is Eid al-Adha, or Qurbani festival, which this year is expected to run from 20-23 July. Eid-al-Adha begins around 70 days after the end of Ramadan. As part of the festival every Muslim follows in the footsteps of the Prophet Abraham and has an animal slaughtered as an offering to God. The meat, called the Qurbani, is spilt into three portions - one for the person buying, one for friends and neighbours, and one for charity. Processors typically begin sourcing animals two or three weeks before the festival.

For farmers and processors looking to access this market, it is important to note that demand for sheep meat during this festival is split into two categories: meat for the Qurbani charitable giving, and meat for the normal Eid festival. Animals for the Qurbani market must meet certain requirements with regard to sexual maturity and other features. There are no specific requirements for meat destined for the Eid al-Adha market.

What does this mean for sheep meat demand?

Typically, sheep meat does well during these festivals, with many families stocking up on supplies for large family meals. If families and friends are not allowed to meet as normal over the period, then it is plausible that lamb demand could be weaker than usual. However, considering that Ramadan 2020 was observed under full lockdown, we may see some year-on-year growth in sales as restrictions ease this year.

For Qurbani, which is due to happen after all COVID-19 restrictions are lifted (on the current Government roadmap), we could see strong demand for sheep meat if restrictions allow traditional practices. It remains to be seen what restrictions will allow at this point though.

Key dates:
  • 12/13 April: Start of Ramadan
  • 12/13 May: End of Ramadan (Eid al-Fitr)
  • 20-23 July: Eid al-Adha/Qurbani festival
Image of staff member Hannah Clarke

Hannah Clarke

Analyst - Livestock

See full bio


Sign up for regular updates

You can subscribe to receive Beef and Lamb market news straight to your inbox. Simply fill in your contact details on our online form.

Visit the Keep in touch page

While AHDB seeks to ensure that the information contained on this webpage is accurate at the time of publication, no warranty is given in respect of the information and data provided. You are responsible for how you use the information. To the maximum extent permitted by law, AHDB accepts no liability for loss, damage or injury howsoever caused or suffered (including that caused by negligence) directly or indirectly in relation to the information or data provided in this publication.

All intellectual property rights in the information and data on this webpage belong to or are licensed by AHDB. You are authorised to use such information for your internal business purposes only and you must not provide this information to any other third parties, including further publication of the information, or for commercial gain in any way whatsoever without the prior written permission of AHDB for each third party disclosure, publication or commercial arrangement. For more information, please see our Terms of Use and Privacy Notice or contact the Director of Corporate Affairs at info@ahdb.org.uk  © Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. All rights reserved. 

Topics:

Sectors:

Tags:

×