Ramadan, the holy month in the Islamic calendar, started last June 6 and with it, the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims fast from dawn to dusk for the next 30 days. During this period of fasting and prayer, followers of Islam will abstain from eating and drinking until they break their fast each evening after the sun sets.
This is our 10th Ramadan in the UAE.
Wait, let me think about that for a while. TENTH Ramadan in the UAE. Didn’t we plan to be here for “only a couple of years”? But just like thousands of expats who came to Dubai with that in mind, we are still here and we love the holy month of Ramadan. Why?
What does Ramadan mean to non-Muslims in a Muslim country like the UAE? Most, if not all companies in the UAE have shortened working hours to all, Muslims and non-Muslim employees. At my work place, we get to work for only 6 hours instead of 8. I work from 8 am to 2 pm only, for the whole month!
Ah, how I wish it was like this for the whole year. And I wish we lived near the beach.
Ramadan is that time when I am so happy to be able to go home earlier than usual to be with my kids. We take afternoon naps or do things we can’t usually do because I have very limited time with them after my usual 6 pm work end (I get home around 7 pm then dinner, home work check and bedtime at 8:30 or 9 pm max).
There’s a little disadvantage of the shortened work times though, it means work load piles up quickly – so it meant I had to work on a weekend for half day last week to cope up. Because I am currently single parenting, it made me doubly guilty so to make up to them, I drove them to the beach later that day.
I thought it was already impossible to linger at the beach at this time of the year with summer in full swing. But during the golden hour, the beach was perfect. The weather was warm but not too hot as I thought it would be, the water was not like a hot tub. It was really just as I like it – a little warm.
And indeed, golden.
I wish we lived near this (it’s around 30 minutes away by car) so I could take them every day from late afternoon till sunset. It was a bit tough since I can’t drink water in public because it’s Ramadan (kids are excused). But our beach trip was so worth it. The kids loved it so much and it was relaxing for me as well. The extra hours I have after work during Ramadan is truly blissful.
On the way home, Pristine said “sorry mom, the car is full of sand now.” I told her, I don’t care as long as there are happy kids in it.