Ramadan is an important time in the Islamic calendar, the holiest month of the year. Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, for the entire month of Ramadan, which lasts for 30 days. The exact date of Ramadan varies from year to year, as it is determined by the sighting of the new moon. The fasting period is followed by Eid al-Fitr, meaning 'the festival of breaking the fast'.
Ramadan 2018 is expected to fall as follows:
Ramadan: on or around 15th May – 14th June
Eid al-Fitr: on or around 14th June – 17th June
During Ramadan it’s important to be mindful of how to respect the customs and traditions that are so important at this time of year. Some important rules to keep in mind:
- Do not eat or drink in public
- Do not smoke in undesignated areas
- Do not play loud music
- Do not swear in public
- Do dress modestly
GOOD TO KNOW
Ramadan can be a great time to visit the Middle East. The cities slow down for a beat, with popular tourist attractions less busy during the day, followed by lively evenings of celebrations and feasts.
When planning your travels, here are some things to note:
- The roads will be busier at sunset
- Attractions may have reduced opening hours
- Clubs may be closed during this time
- Malls may be open later with Ramadan sales on offer
SOME USEFUL PHRASES
Ramadan Kareem – a greeting that means "generous Ramadan"
Ramadan Mubarak – a greeting that means "congratulations, it’s Ramadan"
Mubarak alaikum shahr Ramadan – "may the month of Ramadan be a blessing for you"
THE FUN & FESTIVITIES
When the sun sets, the city comes alive. Events are set up daily to bring friends and families together to celebrate Iftar, the breaking of the fast. It’s a great time to dine in the city, with hotels and restaurants offering feasts fit for a Sheikh. Special Bedouin-style tents pop up all over the city, with Arabian specialities cooked right in front of you. Glamorous shisha bars are buzzing, and belly dancers entertain. And the best bit? Everyone’s welcome!
Get in the spirit of Ramadan, and enjoy an experience unique to this time of year. Here's our list of must-visit iftars:
Bab Al Shams, Dubai
Head to the desert for a traditional iftar, with Arabic delicacies, tanoura dancing and live music.
Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi
The opulent Emirates Palace is serving up an impressive, traditional buffet fit for a king.
Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah, Muscat
You’ll be spoilt for choice with a selection of sumptuous hot and cold dishes, served buffet style.