Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) has once again curated the ‘Ramadan in Dubai’ festivities, which will run from March 23 to April 21 Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Ramadan is a special month in Dubai where residents and visitors come together to create memorable and meaningful experiences as the city takes on a distinctly different persona and transforms with an extra special spirit and ambience of togetherness. During the Holy Month this year, the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) has once again curated the ‘Ramadan in Dubai’ festivities, which will run from March 23 to April 21.

The event will offer a range of unique cultural experiences that individuals can enjoy with their loved ones, such as Iftars and Suhoors, Ramadan markets, festive citywide lighting, and attractive retail offers. Additionally, there will be family entertainment and hotel stays to make the occasion even more enjoyable.

Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of DFRE, said: “Ramadan is a unique time of year when we can reflect, appreciate the blessings of life and create special memories with family and friends. This Ramadan in Dubai, everyone is welcome to our great city to enjoy cultural moments and experience the sense of togetherness that is felt throughout the Holy Month. Working with our partners across the government and private sectors, we have created a programme of exciting events and activities, exquisite gastronomy, and world-class entertainment, that will make Ramadan in Dubai a month to remember. It will bring people together, celebrate our heritage and culture with friends and family, and provide opportunities for acts of charity and generosity.”

During Ramadan, Dubai will be transformed with lighting installations adorning the city’s landmarks, trees, roadsides and shopping destinations. Image Credit: Supplied

City lighting and ambience

During Ramadan, Dubai will be transformed with lighting installations adorning the city’s landmarks, trees, roadsides and shopping destinations. Some of the city’s most beloved landmarks, such as Dubai Frame and Ain Dubai, will light up for Ramadan, including a special projection at Ain Dubai. Additionally, there will be a daily ‘Imagine Ramadan Projection’ at Festival Bay in Dubai Festival City Mall, and a stunning ‘Ramadan in Dubai Reflections’ immersive building projection accompanied by lanterns lighting the way at Al Seef (March 23-April 22) and Al Habai Mosque (March 28-April 10).

For those interested in shopping, Nakheel Mall, Ibn Battuta Mall, and Circle Mall will have intricate hanging ornaments, multicolour motifs, and small majlis spaces to enjoy. The ‘Ramadan Fireworks Nights’ displays will also light up the skies on 1 April at The Beach, Bluewaters and JBR, on April 8 at Al Seef, and on April 15 at Dubai Festival City Mall.

Ramadan markets

Dubai’s popular Ramadan Markets are a great opportunity to experience the traditional Ramadan atmosphere and culture. Usually held in large air-conditioned tents or indoors at shopping malls, these markets offer a wide range of products such as food, clothing, home decor, and gifts. From March 22 to April 21, Oasis Mall will host the Ramadan at Oasis market (10am-midnight). Visitors can enjoy daily dates and kahwa after Maghrib prayers and shop for items such as honey, dates, Arabic sweets, and decorative items.

For a relaxing break with family or even alone, the Hatta Hub will offer an inspiring ambience to sample international cuisines, browse retail outlets, and enjoy entertainment in the evenings (March 22 to May 1). The Al Barsha Park Ramadan Market will take place at Al Barsha Pond Park from March 22 to May 1. Besides retail, this seasonal experience offers a variety of international delicacies, entertainment, contests, and other fun activities.

Ramadan tents

During Ramadan, many hotels, restaurants, and venues in Dubai set up large, air-conditioned tents or temporary structures where people can come together to break their fast and enjoy Iftar and Suhoor meals. These Ramadan tents are typically decorated with traditional Arabic décor and offer a variety of food options, including Arabic and international cuisine. They often feature live entertainment such as music and cultural performances, creating a festive atmosphere for families and friends to enjoy.

Dubai Opera will offer a buffet with Arabic and international cuisine, while Asateer in Atlantis the Palm will offer traditional Iftar and Suhoor. The Bulgari Ramadan experience will offer live food stations and live entertainment for Iftar and Suhoor, while the Habtoor Grand Resort Autograph Collection and City Walk’s Dana Tent will have outdoor Iftar and Suhoor options. Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach will also provide Iftar and Suhoor options at several of its restaurants, while Carna by Dario Cecchini will offer a rooftop Iftar on the 74th floor of SLS Dubai.

Gastronomical experiences

Offering a one-of-a-kind culinary experience, the Ramadan Street Food Festival will take place from March 31 to April 9. The vibrant streets of Sheikh Hamdan Colony, Al Karama, will offer an array of authentic and traditional foods during Iftar and Suhoor.

Iftar Cannons & other Ramadan initiatives

During tRamadan, the Dubai Police will be sounding the Iftar Cannon at various locations across the city, starting with Satwa Grand Mosque on March 23 and 24. The cannon will continue to sound at Iftar time until April 21 at different locations for two days in a row at each destination. These locations include DIFC, Zabeel Grand Mosque, Al Nahda National School for Girls, Lahbab Mosque 1, Al Aweer Grand Mosque, Ahmed Al Habbai Mosque in Al Khawaneej, Bin Dafoos Mosque in Al Twar, Al Mankhool, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City, Ain Dubai, Al Salam Mosque in Al Barsha, Kite Beach in Jumeirah, Nad Al Sheba Mosque, The Pointe at Palm Jumeirah.

Expo City Dubai will also host a charitable initiative in the form of Hattan, a collection of clothing donation boxes that have been decorated by young artists from schools in Dubai with paintings inspired by the city’s culture and traditions. The boxes will be available for donations from March 22 to April 22, offering an opportunity to give to those in need.

Mall activations

Dubai Festival City Mall will offer special rewards to shoppers, including tickets to Bounce X, access to Glowland, an Al-Futtaim gift card, besides the opportunity to win Dh200,000 for users of its Blue App. Visitors to the mall can check out the Zehi Exhibition, which will feature local businesses offering a range of curated products such as abayas, perfumes, jewellery, and home accessories.

Families can take their children to AstroLab in Nakheel Mall, where they can participate in free space, science, and art workshops (24 March to 16 April). The Mad Scientist will also put on two 45-minute fun shows (5pm and 8.30pm, March 31 to April 2 ). Visitors can also enjoy food and beverages offered by Hint Café at the exclusive Ramadan Majlis.

From March 24 to April 16, visitors to Nakheel Mall can view the work of Emirati artist Azza Al Qubaisi at the Nakheel Mall Gallery Exhibition. Some of the artworks on display will include The Abaya, Between the Dunes, and 7 Falcons. In addition, visitors can enjoy live traditional entertainment, including oud and qanun players and pianists, after Iftar every weekend between March 24 and April 23.

Ramadan can be celebrated every weekend at Freej Al Khawaneej in Al Khawaneej Walk and Last Exit Al Khawaneej. Community members can enjoy traditional celebrations and a host of activities, such as live music, free kids activities, Hakawati storytelling, and Ramadan quizzes from March 24 to April 16. Starting on March 23, 30 lucky patrons who review their dining experience at restaurants in City Walk, The Beach JBR, and La Mer will have a chance to win a flight to Dubai.

Mall of the Emirates will host the Ramadan market activation, Ramadaniyat Zeman Awwal, available both online and in-person (March 22-April 25). Every Tuesday during the Holy Month, visitors can attend the Ramadan Talks, held in the Zeman Awwal Majlis Cinema, covering topics such as Ramadan etiquette, healthy F&B habits, modest fashion, and more.

Al Seef will host Ramadan Art Nights & Lights (March 23-April 22), featuring a Ramadan street market, scrumptious dining options, striking art and lighting installations, live music, Ramadan quiz nights, storytelling for kids, and a jaw-dropping fireworks display.

Bluewaters will offer a range of fun activities and authentic Emirati hospitality every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday between March 23 and April 21. Visitors can enjoy a photo booth with traditional props and clothing, a free henna session, and performances by oud or qanun players.

Events and entertainment

On April 15, the Coca-Cola Arena will host British comedian Jack Whitehall for a night of wry anecdotes and animated observations in his signature style. From April 6-18, visitors to Al Marmoom Heritage Village can celebrate Emirati culture and experience preserved Arabian traditions at the Al Marmoom Heritage Festival. With almost two weeks of entertainment, the festival offers daily camel races, live concerts, and international dance shows. It’s a great opportunity to experience the rich heritage of the area.

Ramadan Wonders at Global Village will offer the perfect place for a night out with family and loved ones. Visitors can enjoy the Ramadan Market, Majlis of the World, and a variety of delicious cuisines for Iftar and Suhoor.

On March 24 and April 14, the Theatre by QE2 will host the amazing Mind2Mind Connected mentalism show, featuring Dubai-based couple James and Marie, who won the golden buzzer on Ukraine’s Got Talent and performed at America’s Got Talent.

Starring actress Chulpan Khamatova and Latvian pianist Andrejs Osokins, Play: Dreams About The Grand Piano is a combined act of poetry and music presented at the Theatre at Mall of the Emirates on March 23. Movenpick JBR will host a special performance by Rob van Vuuren on March 25, presented by the Selfdrive Laughter Factory.

Fitness and sports

Dubai will host a variety of fitness and sports activities during the month of Ramadan to encourage physical activity and promote a healthy lifestyle. The Polo Masters Cup, a six-day event part of the globally-recognised Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series, will be held at Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club from April 3 to 8. The 6- to 8-goal handicap championship event will be held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the UAE.

On April 8, Jebel Ali Racecourse will host the Night Spartan Trail, an off-road endurance challenge. Athletes and sports enthusiasts can participate in the Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament at Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex on April 13. Running, cycling, padel tennis, jiu-jitsu, volleyball, and wheelchair basketball are among the six categories in which participants can compete.

The GRIT+TONIC Relay Triathlon is open to participants aged 12 and above, who can compete in teams of two or three. The event will take place at Al Mamzar Beach Park, featuring multiple challenges such as swimming, biking, and racing.

Ramadan fitness activities will take place citywide to help people stay healthy during the month. The events include a Padel Tennis Tournament on March 26, Night Runs at D3 on March 27, and the Desert Road Runners Iftar Challenge in Dubai Autodrome on March 30. On April 1, families can participate in the Spinneys Family Fun Run Series together in Al Furjan Pavilion Mall. The Dubai Offshore Sailing Club will also host several events such as Offshore Sailing Series on April 1, Kite Sailing on April 1 and 2, Wednesday Night Pursuit Race on April 5, and the Keelboat Commodore’s Cup on April 8.

The Ramadan in Dubai campaign also features exclusive offers from hotels and tourist destinations in the city. These include affordable accommodation, discounted access to tourist facilities, and Iftar and Suhoor packages during the Holy Month. Dubai offers a variety of cultural experiences this Ramadan, with something for everyone to enjoy and create special moments. F