With the sighting of the new moon, Ramadan visits again and the holy month arrives with its unique atmosphere, gatherings and spirit. Some describe it as the “stomachs rumbling, mouths cotton-like, tempers not-so-manageable” month which is true nowadays but still I wont fully agree to it cause it is not just a month where we starve ourselves from Dawn to Dusk and stuff ourselves after the sun is down, it’s much more. It’s a month of prayer, meditation and getting to see those far relatives that we only get to see on such occasions. Spiritually its different, it’s a month of reflection, a month where we look back at all the things we’ve done, and try to do as much good as possible to correct our wrongs. It’s the month of peace. We have a period of fasting from dawn to dusk which consists of absence of food and drinks as well as any tobacco products and any thoughts or activities that are deemed unclean.
“Iftar” is the time of the evening meal where we break our fast just after dusk which is traditionally a light snack of dates and water but in Dubai this is not so obvious anymore. “Suhoor” on the other hand is the meal in the morning just before dawn which is usually a light meal.
Ramadan in Dubai has its favorites, uniqueness and least favorites. Dubai is different from any other Middle Eastern countries, we are more free and more open minded in comparison to our neighbors Kuwait, Saudi, Oman, etc. (am not proud of that though) But still Ramadan is a holy month for us, so we are a bit strict on this and we should. There are basic rules anyone have to go by when in Public Areas. No drinking, smoking, eating (even chew gum) from sunrise to sunset. And what I hate the most is that the streets will be packed and traffic will be horrible just before breaking of our fast as a lot of people will hurry to go home to break their fast with families and friends. But just like Dubai has been changing rapidly in the past couple of years, so has Ramadan. Around 3-5 years ago we used to sit with our family around one table for iftar to break our fast, and later we were used to watch Arabic shows together. Today, it’s completely different! Also many new concepts and practices have come up in Ramadan, which didn’t exist a decade ago like The ‘Ramadan tent’, where people come together, eat, smoke, play video games and watch TV. To me Ramadan had a more spiritual, religious aspect to it. People also spent a lot of time with their families and relatives but nowadays no … I believe it has a lot to do with people getting more career-oriented, inhibited by traffic and other commitments. Which makes no time at all for the Ramadan family gatherings anymore; it’s all a rush.
Every year I miss about Ramadan the:
1- Vimto & TANG drinks which has become an all time traditional drink in each house in Ramadan where we satisfy our thirst with it.
2- Be apart of the whole see-and-be-seen gatherings
3- Be a coach potato and glue ourselves to the TV 24/7 watching the Ramadan shows.
4- Get our hands on the different range of Ramadan sweets and food.
5- The “Alllahuma eny Saa’em” phrase which is said when angry, want to curse
6- The sound of prayers which can be heard and how people march to the masjids for prayer which makes it spirtually and religiously soothing and relaxing.
10- The Ramadan cannons.
A couple of years ago, I remember all bridges at the Dubai Creek were beautifully lighted, all streets were full of Iftar tents and at Petrol stations, workers handed out dates and water once Iftar started. Today, Dubai is all about commercial Ramadan offers in hotels, restuarants and shopping malls. This is no Ramadan if you ask me!