Ramadan Etiquette

Learn more about this special time in the Islamic calendar

Ramadan is the most important time of the year for Muslims, and is marked by peaceful self-reflection and increased devotion. Since Islam is Dubai’s official religion, the city transforms during the season, giving visitors a once-in-a-lifetime cultural experience to mark Ramadan in Dubai and its related activities and celebrations.


Take part in an Iftar

A significant part of Ramadan is the daily fast, with followers abstaining from all food and beverage during daylight hours. The meal to break the daily fast, the start of Iftar is signalled once the sun has completely set. The majority of popular restaurants in Dubai offer special Ramadan menus during the holy month.

Share a Ramadan greeting

Greet people with seasonal salutations: Ramadan Kareem or Ramadan Mubarak! Those who take part in the holy month are open about their beliefs and happy to answer polite questions about what the period means to them. If you are invited by an Emirati to dine at their home for Iftar, it’s polite to accept. A wonderful way to experience authentic Emirati culture, take a box of dates as a gift. The sweet treats are a traditional way to break your fast.

Dress appropriately

Guidelines for dressing in public areas are well established. Try to be especially considerate during Ramadan, and cover your shoulders and knees in loose-fitting clothing. For visitors, Ramadan is an ideal time to immerse yourself in the region’s rich culture. Plan a trip to the Dubai souks and markets to pick up local attire, including embroidered abayas and hand-tailored kandooras.

Be charitable

A pillar of Ramadan is practising acts of kindness and grace. Join in and contribute towards the many fundraising and charitable events that are organised during the month. Many stores and restaurants offer the opportunity to add a small amount to your receipt, with all proceeds going directly to a government-approved and licensed charity.

Learn about local culture

If you’re visiting Dubai during Ramadan, it’s the perfect time to learn more about the city’s historic traditions and customs. Stop by the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood for the chance to learn more about the nation’s roots from its Emirati hosts. The centre also hosts a popular Iftar during Ramadan that’s ideal for first-time visitors.

Ramadan in Dubai

Eating in public

All visitors and residents are expected to refrain from eating, drinking and chewing gum in public during the day, though pregnant women and young children are exempt. If you’re not fasting, take note of the restaurants open during the day that feature discreet dining areas or look up home or hotel room delivery options.

Smoking in public

Just like eating and drinking, you are expected to refrain from smoking in public during the fasting hours.

Loud music

If you happen to listen to music, use headphones and keep the volume low. Some lyrics may not be appropriate and may disturb those who are fasting. Public areas avoid music being played during daylight hours.

Expecting business as usual

Most restaurants, shops, companies and government agencies have reduced working hours during Ramadan, so be sure to check timings before you venture out. While daylight hours are reduced, the majority of stores and restaurants extend their night hours to acknowledge schedules of those fasting.

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