Ramadan in Dubai is a unique and different experience due to the fact that people from different parts of the world live and bring their own cultural heritage to this cosmopolitan city.
If your religion is different than our, or you are not familiar to Ramadan and live in Emirates, then you should know the following:
- Iftar is the evening time when, just after the sun sets, a cannon is fired to announce the breaking of the fast for the day. There's one in
in Jumeirah if you want to get close to the action. Safa Park
- Iftar is not the time to have a large feast - traditionally it was a few dates and some water. Later in the evening is when it becomes more festive with larger meals enjoyed amongst friends and family.
- Mosques offer free Iftar meals to the less privileged members of society, whether they are Muslim or not. The meals might be sponsored by charities, companies, or individuals. The Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque has one of the largest Iftar gatherings in their carpark.
- Many hotels will have special Iftar tents where customers can have a simple or more complex meal - with a range of prices to match.
- Ramadan is seen as an opportunity to visit friends and family members, especially those with whom contact has faded.
- The rulers in various emirates pardon a number of prison inmates on the first day of Ramadan. Some are also released for the month of Ramadan to spend time with their family.
- Most businesses and government offices will close for the day. Iftar is around 19:00-19:30 depending on the time of year and when the sun sets.
- Business activities tend to slow down during Ramadan. Expect delays with any commercial or bureaucratic activities.
- Almost all restaurants and cafes will be closed during the day but many will extend their opening hours at night.
This does not include some restaurants and cafes that are inside in hotels, although they usually errect special screns to shield you from public view, but will include all external facilities such as pool bars.
- There will be a few eating outlets open during the day for dine-in customers in larger hotels and shopping centers. Some fast food restaurants allow drive-through or take-outs.
- Supermarkets are normally open during the day and have extended hours at night - sometimes till midnight or even later.
- Shopping centers are open during the day and an extra hour or two at night.
- Bars in
are usually still open but patrons will be asked what religion they are and refused entry if they are Muslim. Live and loud music is banned, so is dancing. Bars in Dubai might be closed. Bars in Ras Al Khaimah usually stay open. Bars in Sharjah don't exist. Abu Dhabi
- Any alcohol related offences will probably be treated much more severely than outside the month of Ramadan - it is quite possible an offender is stuck in prison until the end of Ramadan.
- Car stereos should be turned down - loud music, especially rock or similar music, is disrespectful at least, and if police hear it, they'll have something to say about it.