Ramadan: Entertainment galore

Ramadan doesn't have to be the season when everything grinds to a halt. Here are some options on how you can make the most of the month

Image Credit: Corbis

Whether you’re observing the fast for the holy month or not, it is a special time for residents and tourists alike. While some look at it as a month of reduced working hours, an easier pace, or simply restrictions on consumption, a majority see it as a season for reflection and renewal and a chance to spend more time with family.  Of course, this also means more social events, gifts, entertainment and shopping.

A 2011 research from Kipps and YouGovSiraj showed that 64 per cent in the UAE and Saudi Arabia spend more money during Ramadan. While groceries and food top the shopping list for most, charity follows close, with 84 per cent of respondents in Saudi Arabia and 73 per cent in the UAE saying they spend more time and money during Ramadan on charity.

Here in the UAE, the Emirates is renowned for its signature line-up of Ramadan themed events — a blend of cultural experience, wondrous entertainment and hospitality.  GN Focus highlights a selection.

Ramadan Night Market
August 10 – 19
Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), Dubai
Organised by Sumansa Exhibitions, The Ramadan Night Market takes all the exotic trappings of a night souk and packages it with mod cons, Dubai style.
Housed within the cool confines of the DWTC, the night market is expected to welcome 20,000 guests and will showcase more than 300 exhibitors with products and services from all over the world. Keep an eye out for the exotic, traditional, and eclectic, and choose from a vibrant array of food, fabrics, electronics, appliances, handicrafts, furniture, travel and tourism, souvenirs and collectibles.

Ramadan Super Prix Challenge 2012
July 26, August 2, 9 and 16
Al Ain Raceway International
Kart Circuit
Ramadan in the UAE caters to a diverse bunch — including petrol heads and adrenaline junkies. Celebrating its fourth year, the UAE’s original Ramadan hire-kart race series will host four go-kart sprint race rounds and offer a bevy of prizes including a CRG Global Kart, race wear and merchandise, and a prized entry into the five-round AARKC Honda Challenge 2012-2013. 
In addition to the giveaways, all participating drivers will have access to 60 minutes of free arrive-and-drive time during Ramadan (a perfect way to get some practice sessions in before race day).

Ramadan and Eid Festival
July 29 – August 19
Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre, Abu Dhabi
This festival has a long and loyal following owing primarily to its blend of traditional celebratory performances and a consumer retail show. This popular festival and exhibition showcases family-friendly consumer goods, unique gift items, Arabic food, toys and games, as well as traditional song and dance to bring in the festivity and an ambiance of togetherness during the month of Ramadan.

Mubadala Ramadan Football Challenge Tournament 2012
July 29 – August 2
Halls 8 and 9, Abu Dhabi National
Exhibition Centre, Abu Dhabi
Mubadala Development Company will host the first edition of the ‘Fit for the Future Ramadan Football Challenge’ this Ramadan.
As part of its year-long programme of initiatives to encourage health and well-being among the local community, the challenge will give young players the opportunity to learn new football skills, get involved with the community and stay fit.

26th Ramadan and Eid Fair
July 26 – August 19
Expo Centre, Sharjah
Celebrating 26 years, the Ramadan and Eid fair promises to be bigger and bolder this year. As an integral part of the Sharjah Ramadan Festival, the event has dazzled more than 100,000 visitors with a bespoke format that includes country pavilions, a heritage village, cooking demonstrations, amusement rides, a mini zoo, free health check-ups at clinics and live entertainment.
Residents and tourists can expect much at the cultural capital this year as it promises to outdo its 2011 instalment by a mile.

Ramadan in Dubai Summer Festival
July 20 – August 18
The Emirate of Dubai
The government of Dubai and the emirate’s official entities announced their participation in Ramadan in Dubai, the emirate’s campaign to promote Dubai as a unique destination during the holy month. The calendar of events will span culture, religion, family, sports, community and charity. Organisations such as Dubai Cares, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein Islamic and Cultural Centre, Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment, The Dubai International Holy Quran Award, and the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department will host a variety of activities this Ramadan across the Emirate.

Ramadan Majlis
July 20– August 31
Shaikh Saeed Hall 3, Dubai
International Convention and
Exhibition Centre, Dubai
This local community majlis is an open platform for friends, families and business associates to share some personal time and break bread together. Featuring a Ramadan feast and an elegant ambience, visitors can make a reservation and visit anytime between 8pm and 3am to partake in suhoor. n