If you’ve just moved here or are visiting family and friends and need a bit of advice about what to expect during Ramadan, then you’ve come to the right place.
Ramadan will take place on Thursday May 17, with Eid Al Fitr celebrations commencing most likely on Friday June 15.
During this month you’ll notice some big changes in the daily routine.
So here’s 6 things you should know about this special time of the year, courtesy of global travel search experts Skyscanner.ae
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the holy month in the Islamic calendar, when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset for approximately 30 days. It is a time for worship and contemplation with the aim of achieving higher levels of patience, spirituality and humility.
What is Iftar?
Iftar is the evening meal at sunset when Muslims break their daily fast. Special Iftar meals are offered throughout the city.
If you’re looking to experience a traditional tent, there are numerous options across the city, including the famous Majlis at Madinat Jumeirah, the Al Falak Ballroom at Burj Al Arab and the Majlis Godolphin at Jumeirah Emirates Towers. Top tip – do make reservations for dinner as tables can fill up fast.
Is there anything I need to do differently?
During Ramadan, it’s important to be considerate and it’s a good idea to cover shoulders and knees in loose-fitting clothes. It’s advisable for ladies to carry a pashmina which can be worn in public areas such as shopping malls and parks.
Other etiquettes that you should try to follow out of respect for those observing the fast includes; not eating or drinking in public spaces during the fasting period, refraining from public displays of affections and not dancing or playing music in public.
Does everything close during the day?
Many cafés and restaurants remain open but some have shorter or different opening times so it’s best to check beforehand.
The places that are open during the day usually section off an area with curtains or panels to conceal people eating and drinking from those fasting. Retail and food outlets get busier in the evening. The malls close later than usual, with many staying open well after midnight.
How will Ramadan affect my working week?
The good news is that office hours normally will be reduced by two hours but the bad news is, in turn, this will affect traffic patterns. Peak traffic will occur earlier than normal, 7am – 9am and 1pm – 3pm. An additional rush hour also occurs around 8pm – midnight.
Driving on the roads just before sunset can be hazardous as many drivers will have not consumed any food or drink all day so be super cautious if you head out.
How can you enjoy the spirit of Ramadan?
Ramadan is a month of giving charity to the needy and it’s a good reminder to us all to help others in need. There are lots of initiatives that you can contribute to such as the Ramadan sharing fridges.
Last year more than 170 fridges across the city were set up, giving blue collar workers plenty to eat and drink during the summer. If you have a few friends who will be observing the fast you could invite them to an Iftar meal and share this memorable experience with them. Or if you really want to truly immerse yourself in the Ramadan experience why not try fasting for the day. You’ll appreciate the month so much more if you do!