Shouq Al Khetheri, Emirati, Lawyer
“The Ramadan culture has majorly changed mainly because of media and technology. If you look back, 15 years ago, Ramadan was so much more cultural. You would gather with your family, spend time with them and eat and pray together.
“Now, there is no real social life. Everyone is busy and have no time for family. People know what everyone else is up to through WhatsApp and social media. If you’re curious to know what someone is doing, you would just check their Instagram or Snapchat, there is no need or time to go see them.
“More women are also working nowadays, whereas before they would be home cooking and preparing food. Now, more parents will arrive late and rely on the maid to cook. There is no time to teach children the traditions we were brought up on. Instead, trends like the new tent culture in Ramadan is very popular, where most people go to smoke. It’s a waste of money and bad for the health and not an idea that matches our culture or the Ramadan traditions.
“I try to teach my children the importance of learning the real Ramadan traditions. We have iftar without any phones around the table and we pray together — the men in the mosque and the girls at home. I also take the children to visit their grandparents and uncles because I know one day they will look back and appreciate these traditions. My main message is that family is a priority in Ramadan and spending time with ones you love is what it’s all about.”