(CNN)There are 7 billion people in the world. And a full 22% of them -- 1.6 billion -- are fasting from sunup to sundown. Every day. For an entire month.
Ramadan for non-Muslims: An etiquette guide
Short answer: No. Long answer: No.
But you can earn some cool points if you follow these 10 tips.
For the next 30 days, Muslims around the world will abstain from eating and drinking during daylight hours. That doesn't mean you shouldn't carry on business as usual. (Just turn a deaf ear to our growling stomachs.)
If you have to host a brown-bag, you should. But don't feel bad if we sit there, like a vegetarian friend at a churrascaria. Ditto for a happy-hour mixer. If your Muslim co-worker takes a pass, understand.
You can if you want to see what it feels like. But it's not going to hurt our feelings -- even if we're best friends.
Iftar is the breaking of the fast after sundown. We like to make it a big communal meal. You should come.
Ramadan isn't like Christmas or Thanksgiving, as in everyone knows exactly when it'll fall. It bounces around, because the Islamic calendar is lunar. When it begins depends on when the new moon is seen. That's why the precise dates change from year to year.
How we determine when Ramadan begins is decidedly old-school: You have to physically see the moon (even though there are apps for that). That's why, if your co-worker says, "Starting tomorrow, can I start work early so I can leave sooner?" try to accommodate.
No, we can't drink. Not even water. But we'll walk with you if you want to take a break.
One word: Halitosis. You try not eating or drinking for the entire day. That's why we're standing a foot away from you when we talk.
There's no "war on Christmas"-level controversy surrounding the greeting (it means "Happy Ramadan"). Your Muslim co-worker will appreciate the thoughtfulness.
Ramadan's not about that. Plus, one of Ramadan's side effects is obesity (it's all that post-sundown overeating).