Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ramadan in Dubai September-October 2009

The busy trading metropolis that is Dubai still takes time out to observe the fasting month of Ramadan, an important religious observance in Muslim countries.

For one entire lunar month (30 days) all consumption for pleasure, whether of food, drink, sex or cigarettes, is prohibited between the hours of dawn and dusk. Faithful followers of Islam are obliged to adhere to these strictures, eating only during the hours of darkness: the breakfast at dusk can be quite a feast!
At the end of the month, when the new moon is sighted in the sky, the city sheds its sombre cape and celebrates madly for three days.Gifts are exchanged between friends and relatives, and there is dancing and merriment. Women decorate their hands with beautiful henna patterns. The festival brings together the entire community, often with the excuse of luscious banquets and late-night celebrations.
Visitors are advised to observe the restrictions obeyed by locals, as it is considered highly disrespectful and offensive to break them in public. Also, the end of Ramadan is dependent not on the astronomical beginning of the new month but on the sighting of the moon, so the dates may vary slightly from our estimates. Islamic holidays may be announced with less than 24 hours' notice.

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