Joining in the spirit of Ramadan

Traditional ramadan hospitality at the Al Murooj Rotana in Dubai, UAE.

AS we journey through the Holy Month of Ramadan, Muslim residents across the Middle East are united in observing their prayer and fasting rituals that mark the holy month.

While most Muslims prefer to stay at home, tourist numbers visiting the region, however, are expected to stay strong.

This year particularly, the holy month falls across the region’s peak summer months and with hotels and resorts offering various tactical promotions, visitors will have the opportunity to understand and experience the best of Ramadan.

However, it can be just as challenging because of the strict compliance of rules about dressing, etiquette and consumption of food during the holy month.

To ensure their visitors are kept up to date, hotel companies such as the Jumeirah Group in the UAE have issued an etiquette guide available in the guest rooms during Ramadan.

The guide outlines the do’s and don’ts such as no eating or drinking in public between sunrise and sunset or dressing appropriately, in keeping with the laws of the UAE.

The Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (ADTCA), meanwhile, has launched an online guide for visitors to the UAE emirate during Ramadan.

The guide which is available throughout the month at, Abu Dhabi’s official destination website, provides information in English, Arabic, French, German, Italian, Russian, Chinese and Japanese. The e-guide will also provide a variety of information on basics including the significance of Ramadan to explanations of ‘Suhour’ and ‘Iftar’.

Ramadan is also essentially a month of reflection, sharing and helping those in need.

In fact, there are several ways in which even non-Muslim residents and visitors can participate in the spirit of the month.

Essentially a period of zakat or charity, visitors can be encouraged to give charity to the needy, accepting invitations in breaking of a fast, fasting for a day with them or just by being patient and respectful to one another.

For those who would like to understand more and enjoy the significance of this Holy Month, UAE-based Eton Institute is conducting ‘Ramadan Etiquette’ workshops in Dubai.

The two hour workshop covers topics such as identifying and acknowledging the Arab cultural and spiritual heritage, understanding the impact of values, biases and subjectivity on one’s attitude, identifying and demonstrating appropriate cultural and spiritual sensitivity in one’s approach, being familiar with important Arabic expressions and greetings, as well as being mindful of the etiquette to be observed during the holy month.

Therefore this holy season, despite the heat and the dust of the summer, offers a unique opportunity for international tourists to perhaps visit the Middle East and see all that is holy and good in Ramadan!

My wishes to one and all for a blessed Ramadan and a joyous Eid.