A few days from now, the waxing crescent moon will be sighted. It will signify the start of the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, the holy month of Ramadan.
It is an important season in the Muslim calendar. While for non-Muslim expats, Ramadan serves as a beautiful reminder that the UAE, despite the cosmopolitan lifestyle, is still very much in touch with its roots.
1. Do not eat, drink, and smoke in public during fasting hours. Respect those who are fasting by taking food discreetly in a closed-off area. Some restaurants and food courts are open, but dining halls are hidden behind screens and closed doors.
2. Dress modestly. Tight and revealing clothes are very much not appropriate this season. It is best to wear clothes that cover the knees and shoulders.
3. No public display of affection. Just like any ordinary day in the UAE, kissing or even hugging the opposite sex should be avoided.
4. Singing, dancing, and playing loud music in public are not allowed. These actions could offend or disturb those who are fasting.
5. Ramadan is a season of finding spiritual tranquility. Picking fights and blasphemy are no-nos. Patience and respect must be kept in mind.
6. Ramadan is a time of giving back. Participate in charity events or simply do a good deed in your own little way.
7. It is the best time to experience Arabic Hospitality. Join your Muslim friends in Iftar or Suhoor. Don't forget to greet them "Ramadan Kareem" and at the end of the season wish them "Eid Mubarak".