As Jeddah’s weather has begun to heat up with temperatures hovering around 36C or 97F, so has the atmosphere in Ramadan. With Arab schools out for the year and most international schools wrapping up this week (Conti still has a week to go), Ramadan is about to go into full swing. Delina Partadiredja from amuslima.com writes today’s guest blog on the current excitement and anticipation of Ramadan, and gives us lots of practical tips on what to do if one is not fasting, what to be aware of especially during Ramadan and how to take advantage of certain goods available only in this festive month.
The Islamic months are based on the Lunar calendar, so the time of year when Ramadan falls changes from year to year, moving back 11 days each year. This year we are very thankful that although it will be a long and hot day, our children will be able to enjoy Ramadan without the burdens of school and the unbearable heat.
While around the city, several large supermarkets around Jeddah, in anticipation of Ramadan have already started the festivities. Large signs greet shoppers with Ramadan Kareem and Ramadan Mubarak wishing customers a blessed fast. Colourful ornaments fill the stores and shopping areas. You should take a moment to enjoy these beautiful decorations!
For those who are new to Jeddah, or are staying in Jeddah for the first time during Ramadan, you may be wondering what is different about this month in comparison to other months on the Islamic calendar. Ramadan (pronounced Ramzan in the Indian subcontinent) is the month where Muslims around the world abstain from food and water from dawn until dusk. This is the time of abstinence, forgiveness, repentance and patience. As this is a blessed time, many Muslims from around the world are interested to come for Umrah (the small pilgrimage) to enjoy fasting and praying in Makkah and Madinah. You may find there is an influx in traffic and visitors from around the world so when venturing out be sure to wear cool clothes, pack water, ice, and wear comfortable shoes. You may also want to check with the local mosques to find out when prayer starts and ends so that you may avoid traffic.
As a non-Muslim who is not fasting, what should I do?
- As a mark of respect, please eat and drink indoors and in the confines of your home. Individual muslims usually do not mind if you eat or drink in front of them while they are fasting, but it is considered respectful not to do so.
- You may want to shift shopping hours to after dhuhur time (around 1pm) mostly until 11 pm where you will find more people and shops open during this time
- Some of the best dates and sweets are to be found during this time so stock up!
- This is the time to shop for clothes and other cool things. — You may want to check out deals here:
- For those who are Muslim this is a great time to complete your Umrah. You may want to check out this travel group.
- There are many cool items that are for sale only during the time of Ramadan. These include beautiful lanterns from Egypt. The cost will vary but averaging around SR 200 + per piece. Why not join in on the festivities and get one for your own home!
- As Ramadan is a fasting month, the demand for food actually increases exponentially which in turns drives up the cost of food. Prices are expected to increase by 30% for typical groceries. For example: SR 5.95/kg is already SR 7.95/kg, lemons were SR 5/kg but now are SR 11/kg, potatoes were SR 3.95/kg and have now become SR 4.95/kg. Meat will see a price hike of about 15%. You may want to hold off on buying Camel meat as there has been a recent outbreak of MERS affecting camel meat. The Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) is working hard to put a cap on rising food prices. You can check out prices here
Finally, we at amuslima.com wish you and your family a blessed, safe and relaxed Ramadan.