Hafta Ka Hafta

Dos and Don’ts of Ramadan: A quick guide for Non- Muslim Expats

There’s no doubt that for non-Muslim expats life in Dubai changes during Ramadan, but it’s equally true that this annual observance provides a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the traditional culture and cuisine of our Emirate.
However during this month of Ramadan, there are certain Do’s and Don’ts one should follow.
Do say “Ramadan Kareem” to your Muslim friends and colleagues. Organise an after-work iftar, and catch up with friends and family.
Do become a night owl. Everything happens later during Ramadan. Malls are open past midnight and suhoors go into the early hours. Embrace the late nights and discover a side to the UAE, you may not have seen before.
Do be aware that office hours will change which will in turn affect traffic patterns. Peak traffic will occur earlier than normal, 7am – 9am and 1pm – 3pm. An additional rush hour occurs at 8pm – midnight.
Do make reservations for dinner. Most of the cities shopping malls and public places will become hives of activity after sunset lasting until late at night. This also means that restaurants and hotels will be crowded so if you plan to eat out, book ahead.
Do your bit for a good cause. Ramadan is a good time to put your money where your mouth is. The UAE has a wide range of charitable organisations.
Do make the most of the community spirit and sumptuous food in the Iftar tents at the city’s hotels. It’s a great opportunity to relax, play games and experience some traditional Arabic cuisine and entertainment.
Do be aware that there will be changes in Public Transport timings, read more HERE!
Don’t forget the rules. If you’re not a Muslim, you’re still expected to be respectful. It’s frowned upon to dress inappropriately, chew gum, eat, drink or smoke during daylight, play loud music or swear in public. At the very least these things are frowned upon, and at worst you may find yourself in trouble with the police or fined.
Don’t lose your patience. Working hours are likely to be shorter (and perhaps a little less productive), those who are fasting tend to be tired.
Don’t miss it. Lots of expats tend to head out of town during Ramadan, but it’s one of the most vibrant times to live in the UAE. What better time to get involved in the local culture? Dance, sing or be intoxicated in public at any time. Most major nightclubs will close for Ramadan. Bars and pubs will generally remain open, but will only serve alcohol after dark. Similarly, liquor stores will only sell after dark. There is also no live music in bars and pubs.
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