If you are thinking of a trip to Dubai anytime soon, the month of Ramadan is a great time to experience the true culture of Dubai and what it has to offer. For an even better experience, opt to visit towards the end of the holy month towards the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr and you are set for the experience of a lifetime.

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The month of Ramadan is practised by Muslims worldwide and is a blessed month. Being one of the most spiritual months in the Islamic calendar, it is a month of discipline, patience and humility. Many Muslims spend this month practising their faith, worshipping God and remembering those in need. Many also take part in child sponsorship or supporting widows and orphans in need as it is a prime time for selfless giving.

Ramadan is a time for reflection and observance and increasing ones faith. It is known as the very month in which the first verses of the Holy Qur’an were sent to Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). It is also a time in which Muslims choose to spend their days in prayer with their nearest and dearest or at their local Mosque.

However, during this auspicious month, there are a few things you should know before you set off on your sunny adventure to the UAE.

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STAY MODEST

As one of the core focuses of this month is to abstain from temptation, it is advised to wear modest clothing when in Muslim countries out of respect for those who are fasting. Many Muslim women adorn the abaaya, a form of clothing covering them from head to toe – which is remarkably elegant and graceful. However, you are not expected to cover yourself in such a way, but moderate and respectful is fundamental.

FASTING

One of the key elements of Ramadan which Muslims partake in is the act of fasting. Fasting is to abstain from food and drink from the moment the sun rises in the morning to the moment it sets in the evening. These also signify Fajr and Maghrib prayer times. The morning meal is referred to as suhoor and the evening meal is generally known as iftar. Following the offering of prayers, Muslims unite during suhoor and iftar to eat together and pray in congregation. Due to this it is advised to refrain from eating, drinking and smoking publicly in Dubai during those hours, out of consideration for those who are fasting. If you are not Muslim, you do not need to partake in fasting. Many restaurants are still open for those who are not fasting. The month of Ramadan this year begins on 27th May (subject to the sighting of the moon) and will end on or around 27th – 28th June 2017. It is handy to keep a Ramadan timetable with you at all times to stay informed on local suhoor, iftar and prayer times.

FEAST

The best time in Dubai during the month of Ramadan is suhoor and iftar time as mentioned above. The closing and the breaking of the fast is a joyous occasion and if you are lucky enough to be in Dubai at this time, you will no doubt experience some of the best cuisine this country has to offer. From special dates, fruits and yoghurts to tenderised meats, organic rice’s and breads; there is no end to the delicious delicacies that will be laid before you. Many meals begin with the traditional dates and are finished off with a local sweet delicacy called baklawa; layers of light, buttery filo pastry wrapped around a variety of nuts and drenched in sweet syrup .
SHOP UNTIL YOU DROP

Literally. Due to the fast being carried out in daylight hours, many malls and shopping centres extend their opening hours or move them until late into the night; perfect for the shopaholics amongst you. For a truly cultural shopping experience, head to the Ramadan Night Market. There are many excursions to enjoy during the day; visit the Dubai Aquarium with Underwater Zoo, Wild Wadi Water Park or the Dubai Mall for your shopping fix. For those with little ones in tow, head to Kidzania where kids get to be adults for the day(!). As this holy month is a month of giving to others, the Mercato Mall is packed full of events and entertainment based around charity, children, Ramadan and Eid.

CELEBRATE

If you are visiting Dubai during the last week of Ramadan, then you’ll be delighted to join in the Eid festivities which mark the end of the holy month. Lasting over a period of three days on average, Eid-ul-Fitr in Dubai is celebrated in the utmost style, with many Muslims uniting to perform the Eid salaah (prayers), giving to those in need, joining family and friends and offering gifts to one another. This joyous occasion is also celebrated with a feast fit for a King, with many of the countries’ traditional and local cuisines laid down banquet style for all to enjoy. The evenings are often finished off with much entertainment and the sharing of the shisha pipe.

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