The UAE's diversity is the perfect melting pot for different cultures to come together in the true spirit of Ramadan
14 June 2017| Last updated on 14 January 2020
For Muslims around the world, Ramadan is a month-long period of fasting, prayers, and community. For the people of the UAE, however, the Holy Month means much more than just something Muslims do.
The country is home to a number of expats from different religious backgrounds, each one of them bringing a bit of their own culture into the mix. If you've lived here long enough, you know that with Ramadan comes a month of shorter working hours, abstinence from eating, drinking or smoking in public areas, and yes - a host of exciting Iftars and Suhours for you to try out!
If you're a curious non-Muslim living in a Muslim-majority country, the month of Ramadan is the perfect time to embrace local traditions, participate in charity events and above all, practice tolerance.
Traditionally, Ramadan is a time of sacrifice - literally giving up food and drink for the most part of the day. But to the rest of non-fasting population, it is also a period of giving, love, and peace.
A few simple acts of kindness can go a long way, especially now. Here are 5 ways how you can truly embrace the spirit of Ramadan this year:
1. Experience the local culture
This one is especially for the new expats. If this is your first year in the UAE - you are in for a pleasant surprise! The local laws prohibit eating and drinking in public, but they also offer various opportunities for everyone to really imbibe the spirit of Ramadan. So the next time someone invites you to an Iftar or Suhour, definitely visit as there's always something new to learn.
2. Involve yourself in charity and giving
Although there's never really a right or wrong time to be charitable, Ramadan is probably your best chance if you're trying to give back to the community. You will find a number of funding boxes, giveaway stations, and charity events easily accessible around the city so don't hold back! Keep an eye out for the popular Ramadan fridges, or why not sign up to become a volunteer in Dubai?
3. Practice tolerance
The local laws here prohibit eating and drinking in public, and although this may seem inconvenient to some, it is also the perfect time to practice restraint and tolerance. The Holy Month also stands for a time of solidarity and what better way to express your interest than to dress modestly and practice abstinence with your fasting coworkers and friends.
4. Spend time with loved ones
Most businesses operate on shorter hours during Ramadan, leaving more time to spend with family and friends. The city is bustling with night markets, Ramadan fairs, and sales throughout the month so use this as a chance to get out and spend more time together!
5. Be kind
The Holy Month isn't all about abstaining from eating and drinking, it is also a great time to rid yourself of negative thoughts and actions. A simple act of kindness - even a smile - can make a difference to someone's day! So the next time you pass by someone, greet them with a warm 'Ramadan Kareem'.