Offbeat, Online Magazine, Ramadan

The Ramadan Newbie Guide for Expats

Profile photo of Jou Pabalate

Jou Pabalate

Regional Editorial Manager at Destination Riyadh

ramadan

By Safa Hassan

Experience the uniqueness of celebrating the holy month  in Saudi.


Expats and newcomers in Riyadh, you’ll experience a whole different way of living during the pious month of Ramadan. Here’s your much awaited Ramadan guide – the do’s, the don’ts and everything in between.

  1. Traffic is the worst 30-60 minutes before sunset (Maghrib prayer) during Ramadan. That is the rush hour as everyone is trying to get home or to a restaurant in order to break their fast on time. Plan your city travels appropriately!
  2. Offices reduce working hours to provide ease to employees. That means you get to spend more time with family & family. The only downside to this rule is the delay in all government related tasks due to shorter hours. In case you’re planning to travel, make sure all your paperwork is done well in advance.
  3. Speaking of travelling – book your June flights in advance because people travel a lot around Eid time!
  4. Enjoy the local Ramadan specialty at restaurants or iftar tents set up by major hotels. Your taste buds will thank you!
  5. Shopping malls, restaurants and supermarkets are open till 2-3 a.m. Once you get the taste of midnight shopping mayhem, you’ll never want to let it go! Exploit the Ramadan and Eid sales!
  6. If you’re a nocturnal or a midnight-snack kind of person, Ramadan is the time where you can feast all night till the first light! Most of the restaurants are open up to 3 a.m or Fajr time.
  7. Accept invitations and experience an iftar. This is an opportunity for you to learn more about the traditions of the country you live in.

Or you can even throw an iftar party for your Muslim friends.

Be Thoughtful & Sympathetic

  • You’re living in a country where almost everyone is fasting, so eating publicly isn’t exactly considered great. If you have to eat just avoid crowded places!
  • Since it is a holy month, turning down the volume of the songs down isn’t just a wise move; it’s the respectful thing to do.
  • As a considerate human, greet your Muslim colleagues or friends with ‘Ramadan Kareem,’ they’ll be thankful!

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