It’s time for Ramadan; are you ready for it?
Muslims around the world will soon celebrate their most important religious month. Ramadan is the holy month when Allah gave the Koran to the Prophet Muhammad. “Ramadan is a time of intense devotion and reflection – a time when Muslims fast during the day and perform tarawih (TA-RA-WEEH) prayers at night, reciting and listening to the entire Koran over the course of the month.” (Source: U.S. Consulate in Dubai General News)
Soon those who observe the Ramadan will not be able to consume any form of food and drink from dawn till dusk (and, therefore, fasting hours during the Holy month will vary) and they will enter a course of prayers (usually five throughout the day) and religious devotion oriented around improving themselves.
When is Ramadan? 27 May – 25 June 2017
Eid-al-Fitr (also known as the ‘Breaking the Fast Feast’) Observances: 25 – 27 June is a UAE religious holiday; a period celebrated to mark the end of Ramadan.
As noted the UAE Government (abudhabi.ae), “Preparations for Eid Al Fitr celebrations in Abu Dhabi start from the last days of Ramadan, Muslims buy new clothes, furniture, home decoration and fragrances ‘Bakhour’, as well as necessary ingredients to cook traditional food and sweets for the special occasion.”
Here are a few tips and info for expats and visitors in the country:
The Ramadan Night Market (01 June – 10 June 2017)
A great place for shoppers; 10-days comprised of a huge array of products and brands on sale with incredible offers. Apart from the marketplace, visitants can expect a fun night out with plenty of entertainment. Children can be dropped off at the ‘Kids Play Area’ while the grown-ups shop or engage in the other activities.
Day/Time: Open from 8:00 p.m. till 2:00 a.m.
Venue: DWTC Hall 7, Hall 8
Entry Fee: 5 years & above: AED 5 per day; Below 5 years is Free Entry
Look for special events and festivals
Everyone is welcome to celebrate and attend the many festivals being held across the UAE and go to free events, like Ramadan Gathering 2017 held from May 21 to Jun 13, 2017 at FDF Centres (Abu Dhabi-Alain-AlDhafra), that promotes social values and establishes positive habits by preserving family values and culture.
What Expats Should Expect During Ramadan…
- Business operating hours to be reduced during the Holy month of Ramadan. There is no doubt that traders and businesses will witness a decline in retail spending due to the shorter working hours (2-hrs less) during this month. Ramadan timings and work hours do apply to all companies in the UAE, whether they are based onshore or in a free zone.
- School operating hours to be shortened. Scholastic facilities and departments will be informing parents about the revised hours; mostly classes will start as usual but end at different times—thus reducing timing by two hours, the education regulatory board says to accommodate the needs of fasting students. Still, some schools might end their school year before Ramadan.
- RTA’s agencies operating hours to be modified. As for the metro service timings, community members will need to cope with the change in the daily life routines during the month of Ramadan in respect of public transportation services (Buses, Metro, Tram, Marine transit modes, and so on) provided by RTA’s agencies that will be impacted and will be modifying the timings of service deliveries.
- Did you know non-religious activities such as shopping during Ramadan in the UAE is less; however, shopping activities are at their peak before and after the holy month so look out for deals or promotions.
- If observing the Ramadan, it is important to keep hydrated. This period in hot weather leads to dehydration, and because devoted Muslims don’t eat or drink anything (including no water) between sunrise and sunset during this period, the body tends to lose water and electrolytes (salts) in equal measures via the skin due to excessive sweating. Therefore, drink small quantities of mineral water throughout the night. As well, be sure to indulge in the proper diet while you are fasting. Did you know that dates are considered a blessed fruit, especially consumed during the Holy Month of Ramadan? It is recommended to start Iftar – the meal served at the end of the day during Ramadan – by eating 2-3 dates, as it provides the body with sugar, helping restore low blood sugar to break the day’s fast.