Ramadan Kareem! It’s almost time for the start of Ramadan, which brings with it a month of fasting and increased spiritual devotion. But it is also the time for a shared spirit of community celebration.
Expect a slower pace of life which can affect your usual daily schedules. For those of you who are new to the Middle East region it can be a confusing time period.
Here are some tips that you may find useful to help you to navigate this month.
1. With shorter working days during Ramadan, expect opening times for banks, government offices and medical services to be amended. Affected businesses and offices will shut in the early afternoon, and open again in the late evening. So always check Ramadan opening times in advance.
2. If you thought the traffic was crazy already, then wait until Ramadan begins. Try to avoid making unnecessary journeys in the evening, from sunset until around 8:00pm. Take care and try to have greater empathy for other road users.
3. In Qatar it is illegal to publicly consume food and drink, and the majority of restaurants and cafes close during the day, although some may open for takeaway orders. You will need to have options for daytime dining venues during Ramadan.
4. It can feel like there is not much to do during the daytime, especially as many venues are closed in the afternoon. For parents it can be difficult to keep their children entertained. Why not try keeping them busy with creative Ramadan-themed crafts, such as making Ramadan Kareem cards to hand out to neighbours.
5. Take this time as an opportunity to get involved and feel closer to your community! Increase your charitable efforts by preparing small snack packs and toiletry care packages to hand out to laborers.
6. Keep an eye out for local events, such as Garangao and Ramadan Events organised by government organisations. Go and enjoy the festivities, and feel part of the community.
7. Try out a Ramadan Tent buffet and see what all the fuss is about! It’s the perfect time to taste the Middle Eastern delicacies such as Lamb Ouzi. But remember it’s not all about feasting, so be sure not to waste food.
8. The best advice we can give you is to ask questions if you are confused! If you have questions about Ramadan then politely ask co-workers, neighbours an friends. Ramadan is the time when we can all learn from each other!