Although Dubai is known for its glistening skyline and glamorous lifestyle, the ones who know the city well know that it’s filled to the brim with culture and traditions that have grown dynamically with Dubai’s ever-evolving social landscape.

One such tradition that’s beloved in the entire country is the Holy Month Of Ramadan. A month dedicated to strengthening the faith and belief of Muslims, Ramadan is widely celebrated across Dubai, as the city’s scenery changes for 30 days.

Contrary to popular belief, Dubai is fully open to visitors during the month of Ramadan, but if you are thinking of visiting Dubai during Ramadan, there are a few important things that you should know beforehand.

Ramadan In Dubai

What Is The Significance Of Ramadan?

Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar and is very important for Muslims. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims work towards improving their faith by practicing ‘siyam’ or fasting, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. For the entire month, Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from the sunrise prayer (Fajr) to the sunset prayer (Maghrib). Before you wonder, yes, not even water.

Before the sun rises, each fasting person eats a fulfilling meal known as suhoor before the morning prayer call and breaks his/her fast with dates on the evening prayer call with a meal called Iftar.

The purpose of this month and the act of fasting is to reflect on the blessings of God, be grateful for them, and give ahead to the needy. Giving charity is one of the most important practices that Muslims undertake during the month of Ramadan, a part of which goes to ‘zakat,’ another one of Islam’s five pillars where each Muslim has to donate a percentage of their savings to the less fortunate.

The month is followed by the grand celebration of Eid-Al-Fitr, which rewards the faithful who have fasted throughout the month and abstained from all negative and evil practices for the sake of God. During Eid-Al-Fitr, Dubai lights up with festive galore, and residents are provided almost a week-long public holiday to enjoy the festivities.

When Does Ramadan Take Place?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. However, as the Islamic calendar follows a lunar system, the date changes and is pushed back every year.

In 2024, Ramadan is expected to begin on the 10th or 11th of March and end on the 9th or 10th of April (an Islamic month lasts for 29 or 30 days, depending on the moon sighting).

Every year, the dates for Ramadan move back by approximately 10 days; we recommend checking the exact dates before your visit.

Ramadan In Dubai

Iftar & Suhoor In Dubai

As we mentioned earlier, Suhoor and Iftar are the two main meals that take place during Ramadan, one for starting the fast and the other for breaking it. In Dubai, both of these meals are a grand affair.

During Ramadan, every restaurant brings out all its stops to create an extraordinary Iftar and Suhoor meal. If you are looking to experience a unique dining opportunity in Dubai, Ramadan is the perfect time for it as you can find everything from high-end, luxury Iftar and Suhoor options to local markets serving up traditional delicacies. Many renowned hotels also set up exclusive Ramadan tents that serve guests a luxury dining experience.

Here are some of the most popular Ramadan Tents In Dubai

  • Asateer Ramadan Tent by Atlantis The Palm Dubai
  • Bedouin Iftar Experience at Bab Al Shams Resort
  • Al Majlis at Madinat Jumeirah
  • Iftar at Dubai Opera

Working Hours During Ramadan In Dubai

During Ramadan, the way the city works shifts to suit the fasting people. For starters, working hours for public and private sector employees are reduced and typically turn into half days for the entire month. So if you are planning to get any official work done in Dubai, make sure to check the timings of offices beforehand.

Most places in Dubai extend their working hours during Ramadan, including restaurants and malls, many of which are open well past midnight.

Even public transport timings change during Ramadan in Dubai.

  • The Dubai Metro is open Monday to Saturday from 5 a.m. to midnight, 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Fridays, and 8 a.m. to midnight on Sundays during Ramadan.
  • The Dubai Tram is open Monday to Saturday from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. and 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Sundays during Ramadan.

ramadan in Dubai

Eating & Drinking In Public During Ramadan In Dubai

One of the tourists’ most commonly asked questions is, “Can you drink water in Ramadan in public?” or “Can you eat in public in Dubai during Ramadan?”. Yes, you are allowed to eat and drink as per your choice in public during Ramadan in Dubai

Earlier, there was a strict restriction from eating and drinking in public during the month of Ramadan in Dubai. However, the rules have now been relaxed, and visitors can eat and drink regularly during the day.

While not all dining venues are open during the day, an increasing number of restaurants and cafes keep their doors open for diners throughout the day in Ramadan. We recommend checking the opening timing before visiting to avoid any disappointment.

We also recommend being mindful and respectful of those fasting around you while eating and drinking in public.

During Ramadan, alcohol is restricted in Dubai except for select places that have a special license to sell alcohol during the month of Ramadan. If you fancy a drink, make sure to call and check the venue before visiting.

What To Wear During Ramadan In Dubai

One of the most pivotal practices for Muslims during the month of Ramadan is modesty in clothing. So while there are no particular Ramadan clothing rules in Dubai that differ from the regular dress code, it is recommended to wear modest and appropriate clothes to public places that cover your shoulders and knees for both men and women.

We also recommend checking the dress code of each location before you visit, as some venues may enforce a particular rule during the month of Ramadan.

Things To Do In Dubai During Ramadan

While things work differently, there is still plenty to do during Ramadan in Dubai. Most of the attractions, including theme parks, water parks, and other popular things to do, like Dubai Frame, At The Top Burj Khalifa, and Global Village, are open as per usual during Ramadan. There might be a slight change in timings to accommodate the fasting people, but the attractions will still be available for tourists and residents alike.

As entertainment that involves music, dancing, and performances are restricted during Ramadan, a few experiences that feature such entertainment stop running them during the month. For instance, all the Desert Safari experiences in UAE stop their belly dancing and tanoura shows during Ramadan with respect to regulations. Similarly, any live shows or performances that regularly take place in restaurants, lounges, and yachts are unavailable during the month.

However, Ramadan brings a whole new world of things to do during the month, like night markets, festive stalls, Ramadan tents, Mosque experiences, and much more. Here are a few unique things to do during Ramadan in Dubai for tourists.

Expo City Ramadan Festival

Visit Ramadan markets

The city is buzzing with exciting Ramadan markets throughout the month, offering a window into the country’s history and culture. These markets are the perfect place to explore the traditions and history of Dubai, shop traditional souvenirs, clothing, and other items, and indulge in delicious and authentic Iftar and Suhoor meals. Most of these markets are free to enter for both tourists and residents.

Here are some of the most popular Ramadan markets in Dubai.

  • Ramadan Night Market at Dubai World Trade Center
  • Al Seef Night Market
  • Expo City Ramadan Night Market
  • Bluewaters Island Night Market
  • Mall of The Emirates Ramadan Night Market.

Experience Iftar in a Ramadan Tent

Ramadan Tents are one of the most exciting things about Ramadan in Dubai. They are large, party-sized tents set up by some of the top hotels in the city for Iftar and Suhoor. But these aren’t just any tents. Ramadan Tents are the epitome of luxury, decked with high ceilings, chandeliers, sculptures, and a buffet that features every dish under the sun.

Whether you are fasting or not, an Iftar or Suhoor experience in a Ramadan Tent is worth visiting and dining at.

Shop your heart out

During Ramadan, the city witnesses some of the best store deals and offers. Visitors can shop till they drop in their favorite malls or markets and take advantage of special Ramadan and Eid deals across the city.

Witness the Ramadan Canons

Many locations in Dubai host the famous Ramadan Canons that are fired to announce the sunset prayer, which entails the time to break the fast and enjoy Iftar. The Ramadan canons are a fun experience to witness as members of police and law forces line up and follow a professional proceeding to fire the canons. You can find Ramadan canons in the following locations.

  • Downtown Dubai
  • Palm Jumeirah
  • Al Seef

Ramadan canons in Dubai

Do Events Take Place During Ramadan?

With respect to the holy month, entertainment and music events do not occur during Ramadan. This includes concerts, live shows in restaurants, dance performances, and other related performances throughout the country.

This restriction also includes attractions like Desert Safari, where live belly dancing and tanoura performances do not occur during Ramadan.

During the month, public spaces like restaurants, malls, and shops are also restricted from playing music in the background. However, you can find educational, comical, and business events during Ramadan.

Dos & Don’ts During Ramadan In Dubai

  • DO follow the Ramadan rules imposed by the government and respect the city’s culture and traditions.
  • DO adhere to a modest dress code with respect to the people that are fasting.
  • DO be mindful of eating and drinking in public spaces with respect to those that are fasting.
  • DO wish people you meet the special Ramadan greeting – ‘Ramadan Mubarak’ or ‘Ramadan Kareem’.
  • DO be considerate of the shortened work hours during Ramadan for both private and public sector employees.
  • DO make bookings for your Iftar and Suhoor plans, as restaurants are always packed during Ramadan.
  • DO educate yourself about Suhoor and Iftar timing before Ramadan begins and expect traffic close to those hours as fasting people might be in a rush to get home.
  • DO spend time in Ramadan markets to learn more about the city’s history and culture.
  • DON’T be disrespectful towards anybody’s culture or traditions.
  • DON’T photograph anything or anyone without permission; this can be considered a serious offense in Dubai.
  • DON’T play loud music in public spaces. Playing music openly is prohibited around the country during Ramadan, so make sure you are being mindful.
  • DON’T pick fights or engage in inappropriate behavior in public.
  • DON’T drink alcohol in public places during Ramadan in Dubai.
  • DON’T participate in public displays of affection like hugging and kissing in public as these acts are not allowed in the city throughout Ramadan.

Eid Dubai

Aftar Ramadan – Eid-Al-Fitr In Dubai

The end of the Holy month of Ramadan is marked by the Eid-Al-Fitr celebration, where Muslims around the country get together with friends and family and celebrate with lavish meals, gifts, parties, and much more.

During Eid-Al-Fitr, the city is buzzing with happy celebrations. You will witness many exciting things like light shows, fireworks shows, special dining experiences, and more during this time in Dubai. Residents also get almost an entire week off for the occasion, so you can expect a lot of the hustle and bustle around the city during this time. It’s a truly fun and exciting time to witness in Dubai.

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