This weekend marks the start of the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and Muslims all over the world will observe Ramadan – a month of obligatory fasting and forgoing liquids and sexual relations from dawn until dusk.

The observance of Ramadan is one of the five core pillars of Islam and this year's Ramadan will begin on the evening of the 28 June in the UK, depending on the sighting of the new crescent moon, and end on the evening of 28 July.

The word "Ramadan" is derived from an Arabic word for intense heat, scorched ground and shortness of food and drink. It is considered to be the most holy and blessed month in the Islamic calendar. Here's a look at the ways people are preparing for Ramadan now and how they observed it last year:

Ramadan
A Palestinian man decorates his shop near the entrance of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, in the old city of Jerusalem, in preparation for RamadanAHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images
Stocking up on food for Ramadan
People stock up on food at the Civil Service Consumer Corporation in Amman, Jordan, in preparation for the fasting month of RamadanReuters
Volunteers prepare plates of food at the mosque for Iftar, the evening meal
Volunteers prepare plates for Iftar (breaking fast after sunset) during the holy month of Ramadan at a mosque in Karachi, PakistanReuters

During Ramadan, it is common for Muslims to have one meal in the evening when the sun sets, which is known as "Iftar". Early in the morning around 4-5am, they will have another meal before the sun rises, known as "Suhoor". 

Volunteers at a charity prepare food for Iftar in Algeria
Volunteers set up tables before breaking fast at a charity food distribution centre by humanitarian association Ihcene on the outskirts of AlgiersReuters
A cook serves a soup called
A cook serves a soup called "Chorba" before breaking fast at a charity food distribution centre by humanitarian association Ihcene on the outskirts of AlgiersReuters
A man shops for traditional sweets during Iftar in Paris
A man shops for traditional sweets for Iftar, or breaking of fast, during the Muslim month of Ramadan in ParisReuters
People wait for the time for the Iftar meal to break their fast in Aleppo, Syria
People wait for the time for the Iftar meal to break their fast in Aleppo, SyriaReuters
Hundreds gather on a street to break their fast together in Amman after being contacted through social media
Hundreds gather on a street to break their fast together in Amman, Jordan while they wait for the call to prayer, after being contacted through social mediaReuters
A family breaks fast together in Amman
A family breaks fast together outdoors on a street in Amman, together with hundreds of other Muslims who were mobilised to meet up through social media networks like Facebook and TwitterReuters
Muslims gather after having their iftar (breaking fast) meal at the Jama Masjid (Grand Mosque) in the old quarters of Delhi
Muslims gather after having their iftar (breaking fast) meal at the Jama Masjid (Grand Mosque) in the old quarters of DelhiReuters
An Indian Muslim family reads the Quran after breaking their fast at their home in Hyderabad, India
An Indian Muslim family reads the Quran after breaking their fast at their home in Hyderabad, IndiaNOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images
Muslim schoolgirls recite verses from the Quran on the occasion of
Muslim schoolgirls sit in a circle around their religious teacher, as they recite verses from the Quran on the occasion of "Nuzul Al-Quran" during Ramadan in Putrajaya, MalaysiaReuters
Muslim worshippers pray during the holy month of Ramadan at a mosque in the old city of the Cypriot capital Nicosia
Muslim worshippers pray during the holy month of Ramadan at a mosque in the old city of the Cypriot capital NicosiaReuters