Escape To Dubai And Experience The True Spirit Of Ramadan
When is Ramadan?
Ramadan is part of the Lunar Calendar and begins with the sighting of the new moon. Since the Lunar Calendar (presently year 1433) is eleven days shorter than the Gregorian Calendar, Ramadan comes eleven days earlier each year and takes place during the ninth month of the Muslim calendar.
Thus, Ramadan occurs over various seasons and weather conditions over time (this year – Ramadan starts from the 20th July 2012 and ends on the 20th of August 2012)
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, takes place during the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. A time for worship and contemplation, Ramadan marks the day the koran was sent down from Heaven via the Angel Gabriel to Prophet Muhammad. To allow for complete devotion to their faith, Muslims must abide by stringent rules from dawn until sunset for the entire month. Eating, drinking, smoking, are strictly forbidden during daylight. In addition, Muslims must show greater sympathy for the needy and poor. Fasting plays a key role in accomplishing these goals by allowing for greater concentration on the spiritual, generating empathy for the hungry and cleansing the body of overindulgence. At the end of each day, Muslims break their fast with a meal called Iftar. The fast is often broken with dates, followed by a prayer and dinner.
What is EID Al Fitr?
Eid al-Fitr is a three-day celebration that marks the end of Ramadan. It is a festive and happy time during which Muslims do not fast; in fact, it is time for feasts. The first day of Eid begins before dawn. Muslims spend the day greeting family members and friends, and homes are busy with visitors arriving throughout the day. Sweets, fruits and snacks are offered to all and gifts often given to children. Eid is a time to be thankful and generous.
Why is Ramadan an interesting time to visit Dubai?
Visiting Dubai during Ramadan can lead to a fascinating and culturally uplifting holiday. The holy month is very friendly, family oriented and possibly the most traditional and cultural time of the year. Visitors are assured the opportunity to indulge in a truly unique and different experience, as people of different nationalities, races and religions who live in this cosmopolitan city come together to celebrate this special occasion.
The city is adorned with lights and the streets, restaurants and shopping malls come alive after sunset to a colorful, Arabesque atmosphere where local heritage fills the air.
Special offers over Ramadan in Dubai.
As the corporate activities will diminish in a similar fashion as observed over religious holidays or cultural festivities in other parts of the world, Ramadan offers international and local visitors great value for money.
Indeed, Dubai hotels and beach resorts promote great offers and room rates combined with various added values. Furthermore, shopping malls, restaurants and various retailing outlets will launch very special deals, discounts and other promotions.
Can Non-Muslims experience Ramadan traditions?
Local residents and visitors of all religions and cultures are encouraged to learn more about their faith. For this reason, many hotels and restaurants in Dubai will feature special Iftar (break of fast) gatherings and dinners available for guests and the general public.
What emphasis is made on hotel restaurants?
While public restaurants and coffee shops outside hotels (mainly in shopping malls) remain closed from sunrise to sunset, restaurants in hotels remain open for non-Muslims as normal. Food and non- alcoholic beverages are served freely over breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner in those areas. Room service is available as normal 24 hours a day.
You may observe at times the possibility of one restaurant or two being slightly screened-off. This is to show respect for Muslim guests who may be passing by.
It is also normal for small children to eat/drink in public areas during daylight, as their needs must be met.
Are there alcoholic beverages and entertainment available?
While the service of alcohol is not allowed from sunrise to sunset (considered as the fasting period), all hotels and resorts with the appropriate licence are allowed to serve alcoholic beverages after Iftar, from 8 pm onwards with no restrictions. Such is also available in the comfort and privacy of your rooms and suites all day.
Emphasis is usually made to a more mellow, and in most cases traditional background music to exclude loud, live music. Night clubs do not operate over the holy month of Ramadan.
What goes on after sunset?
The city is bustling with life in the morning and until the early afternoon when it is time to break fast (Iftar in Arabic). Shopping centres and souks open up for business around 10 am each day and remain so until late at night. It is customary to see people outdoors and shopping as late as 1 am or 2 am.
Visitors and locals go out after Iftar to one of many ramadan tents or coffee shops in the city to enjoy the evening and stay up until late at night chatting, eating and drinking special Ramadan delicacies.
Many hotels do set-up their own "Ramadan tent" or "Ramadan café" to entertain visitors all evening. The Ramadan tent plays an important part of the evening entertainment, where Arabic delicacies are enjoyed over long chats and water-pipes (known as Hookah, Sheesha internationally).
What leisure facilities are available during this period?
Hotel guests can enjoy as normal all the beach, pool and wellness facilities within the resort. Water sports facilities, health and leisure centres have standard operating hours.
Swim suits are allowed by swimming pools and hotel beaches. It is in good standing to cover-up once leaving either the sandy area or pool decks while retrieving to your guest rooms.
Activities, excursions and safaries.
Dubai Prestigious activities such as Aquaventure water park at Atlantis - The Palm, desert safaris & excursions, hot-air ballooning, indoor skiing and a variety of other fun-filled experiences for families or individuals will operate as normal with slight changes to their timings.
Furthermore, for those who wish to spurge in shopping, Dubai's world famous shopping malls are open until after midnight with great value added deals and discounts.
Are there any special family and kid's events?
Most shopping malls will buzz with entertainment activities. There are always new forms of leisure entertainment for families to be out in the evenings. For example, kids visiting KidZania will be involved in arts and crafts such as making greeting cards, oriental lanterns, jewellery making, henna tattooing, as well as a participating in live Arabic drumming parades and traditional dress fashion shows.
Dress code and behaviour Etiquette
Dubai is undoubtedly a tolerant and cosmopolitan city; however all guests should be aware of the importance of the Emirates cultural sensitivities, mainly over the holy month of Ramadan.
To avoid any embarrassment with local authorities it is recommended that while on excursion or touring hotels and shopping malls dress code and behaviour be in respect of the local culture.
Short top, and short dress attires for ladies are judged indecent in public areas, polo shirts and trousers recommended for men, while display of affection and being seen drinking and eating openly will be frowned upon and considered disrespectful.