x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Holy Month preparations bear fruit

As Ramadan begins today, Muslims share their unique approaches to celebrating the Holy Month.

The astronomer Hasan Hariri looks for the moon through his telescope in Sharjah on Thursday evening.
The astronomer Hasan Hariri looks for the moon through his telescope in Sharjah on Thursday evening.

ABU DHABI // Muslims across the UAE have prepared in different ways to celebrate the Holy Month, which begins Friday.

Abdullah bin Touq, 27, an Emirati living in Dubai, will include a lot of sports with fasting and prayer.

"My friends, family and I set up a volleyball court in front of the majlis we go to for iftar," Mr bin Touq said. "We usually play volleyball from 11pm to 2am on and off."

His family used to set up a tent in front of their house but stopped because of regulations.

"You need to have a fire extinguisher now, two exits in the tent and in summer you need air conditioning," said Mr bin Touq.

In the first five days of Ramadan he visits family members to congratulate them on the Holy Month.

"This is in our tradition," he said. "This is very important in Ramadan and then we visit them again for Eid and celebrate with them."

For Ahlam Bolooki, 23, another Emirati in Dubai, Ramadan is a family affair.

"Two or three of my aunts have been helping my mum cook for the past week," Ms Bolooki said.

"We divide food into little bags and freeze them because it makes cooking easier on the day.

"We've also got palm trees at home so we distribute our dates to [their families] too."

Ayman Al Awadhi, also Emirati, said Muslims and foreigners were getting into the spirit of Ramadan.

"Mothers, sisters and wives cook and then we start exchanging food with our neighbours," he said. "It's not just locals, but foreigners tend to do that too."

The Al Awadhis set up a tent in front of their house for their friends to gather in.

"We all gather there to break our fast," Mr Al Awadhi said. "This is the typical Ramadan spirit."

cmalek@thenational.ae