Ramadan 2023 in UAE: New mosque at Expo City Dubai to open in time for holy month festivities

The place of worship will be the ‘heart of the festival’ and host the special Taraweeh and Qiyam-ul-layl prayers



by

Sahim Salim

Published: Fri 17 Feb 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 17 Feb 2023, 4:05 PM

A new mosque being built at Expo City Dubai will open to the public in time for the destination’s Ramadan festival. The place of worship is within walking distance from the Surreal water feature.

Running from March 3 to April 25, the festival, ‘Hai Ramadan’, will feature the most famous and well-known Ramadan traditions from around the world, food and activities.

“Prayer is at the very heart of the holy month of Ramadan. Likewise, the on-site mosque (masjid in Arabic) represents the heart of Expo City Dubai’s Hai Ramadan,” Dalya Kattan, creative studio director - Events & Entertainment, told Khaleej Times.

The mosque will be near the centre of all Ramadan activities at Expo City Dubai, “so that visitors will be able to feel its presence throughout the site”.

“Not only will our guests hear the call to prayer (azan) emanate through the public realm, they will also be able to hear the voice of the Imam (the leader of the prayer) through the minaret as he recites (the holy Quran) during each of the prayers,” said Kattan.

Light from inside the mosque will cast its Mashrebeya design elements across the walkways near it “for visitors to admire”.

Worshippers will be able to access the mosque for all prayers, including the special ones called Taraweeh that are offered after Isha. During the last 10 days of the holy month, the mosque will also host the special late night Qiyam-ul-layl prayers.

A traditional 'hakawati' story-teller performs late after midnight during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan. Photo: AFP
A traditional "hakawati" story-teller performs late after midnight during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan. Photo: AFP

Hakawati and misaharati experiences

Misaharatis are classic Ramadan figures who would wake up their communities with drumming, traditionally before dawn, so that the faithful are able to take their Suhoor meals before the fast starts.

For the Ramadan festival, they will be present both in a children’s show with Expo mascots Rashid and Latifa, as well as through some on-site activations. “Likewise, our storyteller will narrate folktales and stories (hakawati) of adventure, culture, religion and morality.

“Our aim with these figures is to re-introduce some of the beautiful traditions that existed in the Arab world. For example, the Misaharati continues to play an important role in some of the Ramadan traditions of North Africa, the Levant, the Gulf and beyond (although in some regions, he may be referred to by a different name). For many children today, they have never experienced these activities, and perhaps have never even heard of these figures. This is our chance to revive these characters in the culture of the youth and associate them with the beauty of the holy month.”

Ramadan traditions from around the world

Expo City visitors will be taken on a journey of Ramadan festivities from around the world.

“One of the beautiful things about Ramadan is that no matter where it is celebrated, the same universal values are present – values such as generosity, forgiveness, self-restraint, prayer and love for one’s family and community,” said Kattan.

Visitors will be able to experience food, fragrances and traditions across cultures. “Our hope is that in addition to new experiences, our visitors will also find something that fills them with the nostalgia of home, whether it’s in what they see, what they eat or the general feeling of community around them.”

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