The Holy Month of Ramadan is a very special month for the UAE. Predicted to start this Friday, May 26th, Ramadan observance and preparations for Eid celebration will begin. Bayut brings you a list of 8 suggestions for all the activities that the Holy Month is ideal for.
IFTAR AND SUHOOR, OF COURSE
No matter what your beliefs are, do not miss out on Iftar and Suhoor – two wonderful communal Muslim practices taking place at sunset time and before dawn, respectively. Hotels all over the UAE offer lavish Iftar dinners and affordable all-you-can-eat buffets which, for those who aren’t fasting, represent a unique opportunity to try out something new, learn about different cultures and, most importantly, bond with your Muslim friends and colleagues. UAE Jumeirah Beach Hotel will offer a variety of lavish Iftars and Suhoors. You can even find Iftars with a Thai twist, Turkish-style Iftars, Iftars with an Italian twist, and much more.
RELAX… MEDITATE… detox
If you really want to experience the Holy Month, you join in on the fast and try to (re-)learn to control your cravings and sort out some of your bad eating habits. While you’re keeping an eye on your food intake and enjoying the sweet taste of local dates, why not partake in beginner’s yoga or some other lightweight exercise (high-impact exercise is not advisable during fasting), in order to relax and meditate in the spirit of the holiday season? Some of the yoga classes on offer are even designed to stimulate the digestive tract.
Those who aren’t fasting can partake in a variety of sports & fitness activities at Dubai Sports World and elsewhere, including football, basketball, tennis and volleyball, as well as numerous summer camps and events. Some of the local sports and yoga centres even offer programs designed specifically to stimulate the metabolism and the digestive tract.
If you have a gym and/or a pool in your building, you can exercise at home but don’t forget to activate your mind later on. Not only does reading help reduce boredom and keep your mind active and alert, it also helps improve your English language skills – one of the most important business & social tools for most of us in the UAE. Why not try reading an English translation of Beduin poetry? When in Rome, as they say.
After you’ve taken good care of your body & mind, a wee bit of consumerism is A-okay. Things can get busy during the ‘regular’ working months and by the time summer kicks in, we often find ourselves needing a full tech and wardrobe overhaul. During Ramadan, things go on sale and malls usually operate with longer working hours so it is the perfect time to replenish your tech supplies, as well as start shopping for eid gifts for everyone. Dubai World Trade Centre is hosting a special Ramadan Night Market again this year (1st – 10th of June) where you are sure to find good bargains.
TRAVEL & EXPLORE
Hotels in the UAE and beyond offer special discounts during Ramadan so it’s a perfect time to head out and explore, especially since Ramadan starts a little earlier this year and the heat is not so dramatic. Have you visited Fujairah’s beautiful Snoopy Island yet? Take your family on a trip, plunge into the refreshing water and snorkel with the colourful fish and sea turtles. Diving in Abu Dhabi – spectacular. Dreamland Aquapark in Umm-Al-Quwain? Amazing! Why stop in the emirates? Oman is truly a wonder and it is only a few hours away.
Ramadan is about (spiritual) growth, which entails thinking of someone other than ourselves – especially the ones less fortunate. Last year, Dubai Charity Association set aside AED 20,000,000 for the poor inspiring people of all beliefs to follow suit. Why not donate some money, a bit of your time or a few unwanted things? In Islam or in any religion – generosity makes you feel good. One of the ways in which you can get involved is the Ramadan Sharing Fridges initiative. A few amazing women introduced the concept of ‘Ramadan sharing fridges’ last year and it became a huge success right away. Now almost every community in Dubai has at least one fridge outside their neighbourhood mosque or a house. The idea behind these fridges is that the whole community helps to keep them replenished every day during Ramadan, for people less fortunate to take advantage of the free food, especially those who’re fasting. Join their Facebook group, Ramadan Sharing Fridges, to find out more.
ABSORB THE CULTURE OF THE UAE
It’s cool to catch up on films you didn’t have time to see or binge-watch the newest season of your favourite series, but dedicating some time to learning Arabic or taking your friends out on a tour of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque or the UAE museums, can be just as fun. Al Bastakiya, Dubai Museum, Hatta Heritage Village – explore, learn, broaden your horizons. In short – stay active.