Friday - - Editor’s Letter -

Last week, we were look­ing back at 20 ex­cit­ing years of this mag­a­zine. To­day, we’re look­ing ahead – to­wards at least 28 days of the month of Ra­madan, which is ex­pected to be­gin to­mor­row.

It’s a won­der­ful time to be in the UAE, this month, es­pe­cially the way it brings peo­ple to­gether, of­ten over food but also for prayer, char­ity work, long chats into the night and board games. (Shorter work­ing hours and fewer cars on the road in the post-if­tar evenings don’t hurt, ei­ther.)

De­spite hav­ing been here for more than a decade, how­ever, I think I am still learn­ing what Ra­madan is and what it isn’t; I don’t live it ev­ery day, and even when I fasted one year (you can see my blog about the ex­pe­ri­ence on gulfnews. com), it was more an ex­plo­ration than an im­mer­sion (ex­cept for the evenings I im­mersed my­self in bowl af­ter bowl of my if­tar sta­ple, shish barak – meat dumplings in yo­gurt sauce).

The month is an in­trigu­ing bal­ance of get­ting on as usual, and some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent ev­ery sin­gle day. For the next five weeks in Fri­day we’ll also be bring­ing you some things that are the same and some things that for this month are dif­fer­ent. We’re lucky enough to have three very special guest writ­ers for Ra­madan, each cov­er­ing an im­por­tant ele­ment of the month.

Shaikha Shamma Bint Sul­tan Bin Khal­ifa Al Nahyan takes Fri­day read­ers on an al­tru­is­tic jour­ney over the next five weeks, talk­ing about char­ity, vol­un­teer­ing and com­mu­nity page 50. The dy­namic young Shaikha speaks from ex­pe­ri­ence: she has founded two char­i­ta­ble ini­tia­tives.

Bring­ing a fo­cus to health, both phys­i­cal and men­tal, fit­ness in­struc­tor Wael Al Sayegh gives in­sight into the con­cept of tab­ula rasa, or clean slate, mak­ing the most of the op­por­tu­nity Ra­madan pro­vides to re­set mind and body page 16.

Fi­nally, we can’t talk about Ra­madan with­out talk­ing about food: The lovely Jas­mine Ban­dali, a Dubai-based food ed­i­tor (and mum of fast­ing kids!) is shar­ing her fam­ily recipes on page 19, build­ing up to a sweet Eid fin­ish. (We’d love you to share your recipes too – do so on our Face­book and In­sta­gram).

We wish you a happy Ra­madan.

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