kookie in dubai - tales in the desert city

Tuesday, October 24

Spirit In The Sky

It's Eid in Dubai which means that the holy month of Ramadan is now over.

Ramadan is a time for self reflection for Muslims and is a month of fasting and prayer. During this month they can't consume anything between sunrise and sunset: no food, no water and no physical acts such as exercise, sex or smoking. So if you are a Muslim the last 27 days would go something like this:

0430 - get up, eat and go back to bed

0600 - sunrise and prayers and go back to bed

1000 - go to work. Many companies have reduced working hours during the month and this is observed all over the Gulf. During the day no one can eat, drink or smoke in public. This also applies to non Muslims and it's considered highly offensive for a non Muslim to eat or drink in the office place. Many offices set up a closed off area for people to eat in. During the day there are several prayers as well that Muslims attend.

1600 - finish work and go home or to friends

1800 - around this time the fast is broken. The tradition is to break fast with dates, milk and water. An evening meal is then had, called Iftar, and lots of people have a long evening with plenty of food and drink and many people go to Iftar parties until the small hours of the morning.

For a non Muslim it's an interesting time to see how religion plays such a large part of life here. On a practical level it means that no cafes are open during the day, shopping centres are quiet and there is less traffic on the road. It's also a bit like Christmas. People give gifts to each other and on the day of Eid Muslims dress in their best clothes, attend prayers in the morning, give to charity and give their love and blessings to anyone that they come in to contact with. So happy Eid to you...