kookie in dubai - tales in the desert city

Monday, October 29


The holy month of Ramadan has now been and gone. What does this mean for a western woman living in the sandlands? Well if you work in an office with over half the office being Muslims it means:

- no swearing
- dress more conservatively than normal, don’t wear skirts or anything revealing arms
- take into account arranging meetings due to Ramadan working hours – this year the government decreed that private and government companies work only six hours a day. Needless to say a lot of private companies with expat employees didn’t enforce this at all.

- No drinking/eating in public during the day until sunset – this includes cinemas
- Going to Iftars – Muslims break the fast by traditionally eating dates at sunset followed by an array of mezze type dishes like hummus, tabbouleh etc.

The main difference I’ve noticed this year is that Ramadan, like Christmas, is now a commercial entity. A local Emirati beauty product company sent out a press release titled ‘Ramadantastic offers!’ – they were alluding to the fact that they were bundling their products to entice customers to buy 2 for 1. Eid, the festive period after Ramadan, is a time when families give each other gifts and for younger children they receive new clothes and cash from parents.