By Rositsa Dorovska
With the Holy month of Ramadan approaching, like every year, expats from all nationalities and religions, around the Gulf, are getting involved with the preparation. For a newcomer, though, the first Ramadan can feel like a challenge. You have to avoid eating or even drinking water in public, paying respect to the daylight fast. Also, you have to catch up with the Ramadan schedules of malls, restaurants, etc.
No need to stress yourself out, try to explore Ramadan, instead. It‘s a great opportunity to take more from your Middle East experience and to learn about the culture of the feast. The first time I‘ve spent Ramadan in the Gulf, I was surprised to witness how commercialized it‘s becoming nowadays. Sales in the malls, lavish iftar and suhoor buffets at the restaurants in the evenings. For a foreigner that can make Ramadan even more pleasant and bearable, but this is not the essence of the Holy month. At it‘s core, Ramadan is all about compassion and sharing.
Off course, your Ramadan experience won‘t be authentic enough, without the atmosphere of the iftars, when people would rush to gather around the table. But if you want to dig a little deeper and to explore this special time of the year, one good idea is to set some Ramadan goals. Fasting, but not related to food, is something you may try (nevertheless the real fast has its proven health benefits). More impactful, however, would be if you can avoid bad thoughts, words and deeds. Ramadan is a great possibility to polish your communication skills, as it is popular with big family and friends gatherings. Let the warmth of these moments, reach you out, even if you are far from your loved ones. Hospitality is the word, best describing the people of the Middle East. Don‘t hesitate to indulge in their company, if you have a chance to do so.
Another bad habit you can give up on, during Ramadan, is procrastination. Contrary to the common belief, time doesn‘t stop during the Holy month. People continue working, running errands etc..Therefore you have no excuse to postpone your tasks. Stay focused and use the mysterious vibe of Ramadan, to observe yourself. Develop your consciousness towards the usage of time, like towards any other resource we are blessed with. Pay attention to the little things you may have taken for granted. While taking care of your thoughts and wellbeing, don‘t forget about the others. Ramadan is the best occasion to give back to your community. Whether you will join a charitable organization or you will choose other cause, that will count as a good deed and example… If you succeed in accomplishing your Ramadan resolutions, the reward will be satisfaction and confidence. So keep calm and embrace the spirit of this Ramadan.