Expat or local, the Holy Month of Ramadan is a special time for all…
However it is also a time where we should be more considerate about the culture we live in. To make sure you don’t offend anyone, here’s a handy guide of 20 cultural dos and don’ts for Ramadan.
1. DO embrace the community spirit and wish a blessed Ramadan to Muslim friends and colleagues. Introduce yourself to your neighbours, get involved in an Iftar and catch up with friends and family.
2. DON’T don’t eat, drink or smoke in public during the hours of daylight, even if you’re not Muslim. Best case scenario you’re just being rude, worse case scenario you may find yourself arrested and fined.
3. DO put your money where your mouth is and get involved in the wide range of charitable and volunteering organisations around the UAE.
4. DON’T run away. Many expats leave Dubai during Ramadan because yes, it’s summer and yes, it’s hot… but this is one of the most vibrant times to be in the UAE so why not immerse yourself in the culture in which you live?
5. DO be very careful on the roads as fasting drivers and people rushing home for Iftar tend to mean an increase in car accidents during Ramadan.
6. DON’T leave dinner reservations until the last minute – restaurants across Dubai will become a lot busier as families and friends meet to break their fasts together.
7. DO remember that your office hours are likely to change, whether you’re Muslim or not. With that means the rush hours will occur at different times – expect an earlier morning rush hour from 7am to 9am and a much earlier ‘evening’ rush hour as people leave work at 3pm to 4pm. There may also be traffic from 8pm to midnight as people go home after Iftar.
8. DO try fasting for a day. It’s a good way to understand your own needs and self-control as well as a way to understand what your Muslim friends and colleagues are going through this month.
9. DON’T worry if all these rules feel like a lot. Ramadan is a peaceful and serene time that only lasts a month so try and enjoy it while it’s here.