Having lived in Dubai most of my life, I don’t really find it weird that everything almost stops working during the holy month of Ramadan. But for people who are new to the country, I guess it is kinda amazing. My manager (a Brit who has been in the country for about 6 months now) was shocked!
"All businesses close early for a whole month??!"
“ Closed during the day, yes!
“And you’re not supposed to eat outside until…what’s it called? ”
“Iftar? You’re requested not to, yeah.”
It’s no big deal really. I love Ramadan! So the restaurants are closed during the day. So what? You can still buy food from any of the hyper-marts and eat at home if you don’t wanna cook. And they really aren’t as strict as in Saudi Arabia or anything. Cos here, nobody forces you to fast. If you do, well and good. If you don’t, that’s ok too. Islam is not like the terrorists make it seem. Ramadan is the month of tolerance, charity and understanding.
This Arab client came to the office and I wasn’t sure whether to offer him something to drink or not, so I asked him if he was fasting, he said yes, but he also said if I wanted to have anything, he’s ok with that. I didn’t even drink a glass of water till he left. That’s what Islam is really about! All religions say the same things anyway. I feel they just have different practices cos of geographical differences.
Anyway, back to Ramadan. Work timings are cut to a minimum. Which is great! My dad works for the govt and his timings are from 8: 00 am to 2: 00 pm! School timings are cut short too. I remember when I was in school, each class lasted hardly 20 mins!
The best part of the day is Iftar of course! Even if you’re not fasting! *grin*
The food is awesome. Dunno the names of the food, but what does it matter, it’s all delicious! Of course, if you’re fasting, you can’t really start eating everything all at once.
My sister was invited for an Iftar party. She told me everything about it. The traditional way is to start with dates and sherbet. More fruits follow – apples, grapes, pomegranates etc. Then you go onto bigger things like samosas, cutlets, puffs, strudels, pies and loads of other stuff. This is then followed by dinner which can be biryani or harees and other traditional dishes. She came back from the party with food coming outta her ears! Why the hell don’t I have more Muslim friends?? Oh right! I don’t have any friends! (Not in this country anyway) Going out is like torture now. My conscience keeps shouting dire warnings about my ever-expanding waistline, while I’m assaulted from all directions by traditional Iftar food just waiting to be picked up and devoured by my greedy self.Groan!
Can’t. Say. No.
And then there’s Eid!
Sigh! I guess I’ll just have to exercise.