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.