Rama-what? I hear you ask. Don’t worry this tradition was new to me this year too.
Ramadan is enshrined in law; it is not simply a religious option. Travellers are not obliged to fast, but are required to respect the traditions. It’s something that all travelers to the region need to be aware of.
To give you a brief overview
- No eating or drinking in daylight hours – not even water
- No smoking or sexual activity
- In the evenings and pre sunset families gather together to eat
- Emphasis is always on reflection, prayer and charity
- Modest clothing to be worn, knees and shoulders covered
Now whilst I don’t understand nor agree with many aspects of how things are done with religious beliefs I respect that it’s their culture. Experiencing this tradition briefly was a positive experience & I learnt a lot.
Travel is all about experiencing and learning new things!
My parents have been living and working in Doha, Qatar for the last 10 months and I’ve been lucky enough to visit them there.
I can certainly pick my timing to visit, not only was it Summer (which can sit at around 50degrees) I landed straight into the Ramadan Season. I’m not good when it’s hot. And the idea of having to cover up and not being able to drink water in public so much was super daunting. Especially because I’m on of those people who carries a bottle of water everywhere.
During Ramadan fashion sensitivities are heightened but in the midst of all the tradition, there’s fabulous fashion. Yes theres the plainer outfits but theres also lots of lavish cover-ups, embellished abayas and pops of colour across maxi skirts.
I hardly took any photos whilst on my trip. It was seriously hot. My go to super cool and comfy outfit was this Alice & You utility shirt maxi dress from ASOS. I buttoned it all the way down and ended up wearing an singlet top and leggings underneath as the buttons came undone every now and again. Size wise I got the 20 so my bust would fit but the sizing was generous so the 18 would have been fine. And ladies this dress goes up to a size 28.
For most of the trip I was busy hanging out with my Mum in the aircon and also had the opportunity to visit an animal shelter a couple of times in a privately owned complex so I could get away with wearing this. (It was pretty overwhelming and I’m still taking it all in. Planning to post some info about it pretty soon)
Every region is different and some areas like Qatar may be stricter moreso than Dubai.
If you have the time pop past some of the more popular shopping centres, you’ll see that the store are all adorned with Ramadan specific clothing. High end brands such as DKNY, Louis Vitton and Oscar Delarenta stock amazing clothing but you’ll also see that more affordable brands like H&M, Next & Tommy Hilfiger are giving shoppers more Ramadan style options.
Random fact for you – one of the shopping centres in Qatar is 5km long!
Here’s a gallery of fashionistas I’ve come across on Instagram with amazing Middle Eastern style.
If you’d like more info about visiting during Ramadan I found this post really helpful.
The Holy Month of Ramadan – an introduction for non-Muslims