Let’s admit it: passing time until iftar is no easy feat during these long, hot days and a good distraction is just what’s needed. And while we love a good Netflix binge (no judgement), Ramadan calls for something a little more meaningful in nature. Here, Savoir Flair helps you get started by rounding up a list of things to do during the day that are not only entertaining – whether you’re into art, cooking, fitness, or photography – but also respectful towards the traditions of the holy month.
A big part of the Ramadan spirit is doing volunteer work, and there are plenty of charitable initiatives around town to choose from. The Ramadan Sharing Fridges community initiative – licensed under the patronage of Emirates Red Crescent and IACAD – is a great one, and for good reason. There are already over 180 sharing fridges registered across the city, providing the less fortunate with fruits, vegetables, water, juices, and more throughout the holy month. To find a map of where the sharing fridges are placed, click here.
Ramadan is a great time to explore spiritual practices – whether you’re fasting or not. Unsure of where to start? Try the ‘30-Day Sadhana Challenge’ at wellness center Life’n One. Taking place daily from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. until June 14th, the donation-based sessions are designed to build strength, peace, protection, and happiness through movement and meditation. To learn more or book your spot, click here.
Soak Up Some Culture
To the delight of art aficionados, the city’s art scene never slows down, and there’s plenty of Ramadan-themed art exhibitions to boot. Start with Ramdanization, a series shaped by UAE-based artists exploring the juxtaposition of the deeply personal and spiritual practices along with the strong and vivid socio-cultural connotations associated with the term “Ramadan”. The exhibition will run until June 17th at the Gallery of Light in Mall of the Emirates.
Further north, The Dubai Mall is playing host to an immersive Ramadan exhibition entitled 9HIJRI that brings together art, an astronomy experience, and a unique mirror and light installation to highlight the value of self-reflection during the holy month. Alongside these, there’s a Dubai Cares charity activation, a storytelling journey on Sheikh Zayed, well-being workshops, and more. 9HIJRI will run until June 14th.
Learn Something New
If learning Arabic has long been on your bucket list, then Mezan Institute is giving you no excuses to bail – the language center is offering 15 percent off Arabic classes this month. ‘Course 1’ will take place every Friday starting May 25th until June 29th (2 p.m. to 5 p.m.). ‘Course 2’ will be taught on both Sundays and Tuesdays from May 28th to June 27th (10 a.m. to 12 p.m.). For more information or to register, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sharpen Your Culinary Skills
You already know you love the food that is traditionally associated with iftar – now learn how to make it yourself. Throughout Ramadan, Top Chef Cooking Studio is offering classes from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., teaching some of the most popular dishes from the Levantine and North African regions (think: harira soup, chicken pastilla, date and cashew kataif, and more). To book a space and see the complete schedule of classes, click here.
Love Thy Neighbor
Shorter working hours and quieter weekends translate to Ramadan being a great time to (finally) explore the neighboring city of Sharjah. Make a beeline for Rain Room, a site-specific installation that provides an immersive experience of continuous rainfall. Getting drenched is not a concern though; your movements will trigger motion sensors to pause the rainfall as you walk through the room. The Rain Room is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and then 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. during Ramadan.
While you’re there, see the city through the eyes of a local as Frying Pan Adventures hosts its ‘Sharjah Cultural Iftar & Trail’. This sunset trek through the heart of Sharjah entails a discussion on the traditions of the holy month, a communal iftar, nostalgia-ridden drinks, stories of old souks, and plenty more. To book a spot or learn more, click here.
Fitness seems to take a backseat during the month of Ramadan, but the Four Seasons is playing its role to prevent that with its #MoveThisRamadan movement taking place across its many properties, encouraging gentle exercise to get those endorphins going. The initiative has been designed by taking local climates and activity levels that are appropriate when fasting into consideration, so all of the activities are light, manageable, and enjoyable.
The Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach is hosting the ‘Beachside Strollers’ walk or stroll along the beach with personal trainer Dalibor Vidojevic at 6 p.m. every Monday during Ramadan. Meanwhile, Four Seasons Hotel DIFC is hosting the ‘City Striders’ jog around the DIFC neighborhood with Vidojevic every Wednesday at 6 p.m. To book your slot for the former, contact the spa on (+971) 4 270 7777. The latter can be booked on (+971) 4 506 0333.
Art is easily one of the best ways to express yourself – or just a great way to while away the hours until iftar time. Enter: thejamjar, a community arts space that works to promote artists and support the development of Dubai’s arts scene through its extensive arts program, educational initiatives, and community projects.
Located in Alserkal Avenue, the studio will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is offering a painting package throughout the month of Ramadan. It will cover four canvases at a discounted price of AED 250, so get your friends or family members together to bond in a new and novel way during Ramadan. Book here.
Do you own a camera and essentially know nothing about its modes, lenses, functions, and controls? There’s hope. The next two weekends will see the return of ‘Photography Level 1’ at Gulf Photo Plus, a two-day workshop that will cover all the essentials you need to know in order to (proudly) break free of Auto mode and understand the sometimes daunting worlds of ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. For more details or to book, click here.