Ramadan nights calm and quiet in capital

ABU DHABI — Ramadan nights in Abu Dhabi are calm and quiet. Except for a few special streetlights, there are no signs of celebration. All shops are closed and whatever few events and activities there are for Ramadan, tend to get over quite early.


Silvia Radan

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Published: Sun 23 Sep 2007, 8:45 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 5:12 AM

“This is the first time that I have come to Abu Dhabi during the holy month of Ramadan and I am surprised,” says Mansoor Al Nashmi.

Hailing from Riyadh (KSA), he came here for a few days to visit some family and friends. “Back home, everything comes alive during the night. The streets are full of people and shops and restaurants stay open until the Fajr prayer,” says Mansoor.

During the holy month, the work timetable is also different in Saudi Arabia. “Most people start work around 10-11am and finish by 3-4 pm, so that they could sleep a little longer in the morning and rest for a couple of hours before the Iftar,” adds Mansoor.

“Last night I went out with my friend in the city centre of Abu Dhabi and I was really surprised that the streets were so quiet and everything was closed. We went to the Heritage Village around 11.30pm, where the Ramadan festival was supposed to be held, but there was no activity. Even the restaurant, which is the only one there serving traditional local food, was closed. It really didn’t feel like Ramadan,” he sighs.

Rami Al Sewerky, an Egyptian who has been living in Abu Dhabi for about five years, says, ”Ramadan here is very different. In Egypt, we go out a lot during the nighttime, visiting many places, stopping in cafes for a chat with friends or even going to Islamic music concerts or a traditional festival. It really feels like a celebration,” says Rami.

He believes that the spirit of Ramadan is very much alive in Abu Dhabi as well, but confined to people’s homes. “If you really want to enjoy Ramadan here, you must visit the local families. Publicly, there is very little going on, but privately it’s a different story,” points out Rami.

According to UAE national Abdul Karim Balfagieh, “In Saudi Arabia, Oman or Yemen, the celebrations are different. In those countries the night appears like day, but here everything is centred on the family. After the Iftar, most people spend their evenings with their families, or visit the homes of friends and relatives.”

According to him, many families open their majlis tent during Ramadan, and everyone is welcomed.

He also says that apart from spending time with the family, people here also visit their neighbours. “We should visit up to 40 neighbours during Ramadan,” points out Abdul Karim.

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