In what can only be described as ‘ironic’, we think about and talk about food more than usual in the run-up to Ramadan and beyond. Isn’t the idea to reflect, give back, and possibly grow as a person in some capacity? With that said, we recommend that you take a break from binge-watching – which we, too, love on occasion – and try to do something a little more meaningful to pass the long, hot days of Ramadan. Here are nine ideas to get you started.
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 is a great one. There are already over 200 sharing fridges registered across the city, providing the less fortunate with fruits, vegetables, water, juices, and more throughout the holy month. Find more details here.
For a more offbeat way to give back, The Smash Room is where it’s at. Not only can you save on a spot of therapy by smashing a couple of unwanted objects – old laptops, cell phones, plates, and more – and burn a few hundred calories while you’re at it, but this den of destruction helps feed refugees through its longstanding partnership with Emirates Red Crescent. Book here.
Ramadan is a great time to explore spiritual practices – whether you’re fasting or not. Unsure of where to start? The Set Your Spiritual Intention for Ramadan talk at wellness center Life’n One is one option. Taking place on Wednesday, May 8 from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., this free event will introduce participants to a few tools to help identify their key intentions – be they of a personal, professional, spiritual, or social nature. After all, intention is the first step in planting the seeds of what you’re hoping to achieve.
To learn more or book your spot, click here.
Soak Up Some Culture
What better time to explore the rich artistic heritage of the Islamic world than circa now? The fifth edition of Jameel Prize, an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition, is now on display at Jameel Arts Centre. It has brought together some truly stunning works in painting, architecture, fashion, and drawing – in addition to a large-scale multimedia installation – with Iraqi artist Mehdi Moutashar and Bangladeshi architect Marina Tabassum announced as the first ever joint winners of Jameel Prize 5.
Find more details here.
Self-care is not selfish, so we think a little quality “me time” counts as a productive use of your time – and several leading spas seem to agree with that mindset. SensAsia Urban Spa is offering a discount on ‘A Deeper Clean’ that uses a pink crystal and argan shell body scrub to eliminate impurities, and coconut oil and vitamin E to nourish, with a restorative massage featuring argan oil and warming amber to complete the experience. This 75-minute treatment is priced at AED 299. Book here.
Similarly, The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai is offering three specially curated packages exclusively for the holy month. With ‘Revitalise’, priced at AED 975, you can indulge in a special hammam treatment and remineralizing body mask. ‘Refresh’ combines a ‘Personal Training’ session and ‘Deep Relief’ massage for AED 925. Lastly, you can ‘Restore’ with a facial and a back massage for AED 925. Find more details here.
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 (read: lentil soup, smoked moutabal, chicken tagine with preserved lemons, and more). To book a space and see the complete schedule of classes, click here.
Broaden Your Horizons
If there’s one cinema in the city that stands out for all the right reasons, it’s Cinema Akil. Here, movie screenings will occasionally take place at 3 p.m. during the month of Ramadan, with the independent cinema platform hosting a flawlessly curated selection of documentaries, drama-comedies, and foreign flicks.
On the roster? The Poetess (the story of a Saudi woman who became the first female finalist on TV talent show Million’s Poet), Naila and the Uprising (which chronicles Naila Ayesh’s role in the most vibrant, non-violent mobilization in Palestinian history), The Journey (Iraq’s official contender for the Oscars in the foreign language film category), and more.
See the complete schedule 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, encouraging gentle exercise to get those endorphins going. The Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach property will be offering restorative stretching classes (5:15 to 6 p.m. every Monday) and yoga sessions (6:15 to 7 p.m. every Tuesday). Both are complimentary. To book, call (+971) 4 270 7777.
If you rather have a little fun while upping your fitness level, Bounce – the city’s largest trampoline park – is offering its ‘Ramadan Pass’ for AED 250, so you’ll be able to, well, bounce every day of the holy month. Not only does trampolining tone muscles and improve coordination, but it’s also a low-impact workout that’s fantastic for stress release. Find more details here.
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 is offering a ‘Ramadan Group Experience’ that will entail a discount of 15 percent on a DIY painting session for groups of four or more. For something a little more introspective, we recommend the Art Therapy: Creating Self-Care Spaces workshop. Taking place on Saturday, May 20 and combining an art-therapy talk and practice session with iftar, it will teach participants how to put the spotlight on their needs and express themselves on a canvas. Learn more here.
Do you own a camera and essentially know nothing about its modes, lenses, functions, and controls? There’s hope as Gulf Photo Plus will host multiple installments of its two-day ‘Photography Level 1’ workshop during the month of Ramadan. It covers 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.