For locals or long-time expats, accepted Ramadan behaviour is something we are well aware of. But for new arrivals, or those who may have become a bit blasé or even rusty on social norms after so long locking ourselves away, read on for our tips on how to enjoy this special time.
DO: Say the right thing. When greeting Muslim friends or colleagues wish them “Ramadan Kareem” or “Ramadan Mubarak” which basically translate to wishing a generous or blessed Ramadan. Remember, Ramadan is a spiritual time, it’s not all about feasting!
DO: Watch what you wear. While Bahrain is one of the most liberal countries in the Gulf, during Ramadan you should dress modestly. That means being covered from neck to knees. No short shorts or bare shoulders please, especially in public places such as malls or at Iftar or Ghabga gatherings.
DO: Accept invitations. If you’re lucky enough to be invited to join Muslim friends for the breaking of the fast you will enjoy a festive but at the same time spiritual gathering. But always remember social distancing and recommended numbers and make sure to wear your mask and wash your hands. If you are going along to a Ramadan gathering, it’s customary to bring a small gift for your host. Dates are a favourite, or traditional sweets. If in doubt, stay home and stay safe.
DO: Drive safely. Of course, this goes without saying at all times but it’s even more important during the Holy Month. Roads can get particularly frantic as fasting drivers may be rushing home to break their fast so it’s a good idea to take extra care around sunset.
DO: Remember that fortified beverages will not be available to buy during this period, either at shops or hotels.
DON’T: You should not be seen eating, drinking, or smoking in public during daylight hours. This includes chewing gum. Most hotels will have one screened-off outlet open during the day if you really do need refreshment but remember to be respectful as you are entering and leaving.
DON’T: Get stressed. Office hours are usually shorter for those who are fasting, and business may not run as smoothly as usual. Your Muslim colleagues may also be tired from the upside down hours, so, be patient.
DON’T: Let your music offend. Loud music is considered inappropriate during Ramadan. Turn the volume down in your car and use headphones if you need your tunes when in public places.
DON’T: Eat in the office. While many places have a space set aside for those who are not fasting, be considerate of your Muslim colleagues. Avoid highly aromatic foods and don’t eat in front of them unless they say it’s OK to do so.
DON’T: Miss out. There are plenty of hotels and restaurants serving delicious Iftar and Ghabga meals, but seating will be limited, so don’t leave dinner reservations until the last minute. You’re likely to be disappointed.