- Curb undesirable emotions such as anger, greed, envy, lust, and refrain from gossip.
- Keep thoughts and actions pure and use the time of fasting for spiritual contemplation.
- Be charitable and help those in need.
- Visit friends and family members.
- Increased modesty - namely woman are encouraged not to wear makeup and cover their knees and shoulders
- No chewing gum or smoking
- No loud music or even TV watching
- No sex during daylight hours
When the sunsets, the real celebrations begin. The fast is broken by a meal called Iftar an evening meal just after sunset, traditionally a light snack of dates and water. That said, this has not been my experience in the UAE. Iftar meals are absolute feasts with a roasted lamb stuffed with rice taking center stage. With a wealth of side dishes both hot and cold, most iftar displays are plentiful. Then later in the evening it is customary to have Suhoor - the meal in the morning just before sunrise. The irony is that with all the fasting and feasting most people gain weight during the Ramadan fast if you can believe it!
One of the little known facts about this month is that the government requires that all businesses restrict their day by 2 hours, whether employees are Muslim or not. So the whole town pretty much lets out at 3pm, which is a welcome change - desert heat plus lack of food equals a well deserved nap!
I hope you've enjoyed Ramadan 101!