For those of you who are new to UAE, you will see lots of signs of Ramadan Kareem crowding the displays and isles of the supermarkets, pretty lights arranged in the shapes of lanterns and crescent moon line the walkways of malls and streets. Dozens of pamphlets and offer booklets from stores circulating with newspapers or being dropped by the bundles in your building lobby, all carry one sign 'Ramadan Kareem.'
This is a clear indication of the Holy month of Ramadan where the Islamist fast for 30 days from dawn to dusk. During Ramadan, the work hours and stores timings are altered to work around Iftar (the time when the fast is opened). Private and government offices shut by 5 pm, some may closer earlier, where was most restaurants open during Iftar and shut open till 4 am. During Ramadan restaurants only offer take away, dinning options are discontinued until Iftar as a sign of respect to those fasting.
During the month of Ramadan in UAE, you are not allowed to eat or drink in public places as per the law and there are fines if caught doing so. This rule is inconvinient to the expat community residing here, but everyone abides it as a sign of respect to those fasting.
Between Al Ain and Dubai, my pick for the Ramadan month is Al Ain, it was lively with the people, and activities happening around. Even midnight feels like 7pm where the restaurants are all full of people and vigour, cars moving all over the city and shopping markerts (like Jawarzat) being open till at least 2 am in the Town Center area. In comparisiom Dubai it doesn't feel different at all, Dubai is the same, (well besides the charged work hours), this maybe due to concentration of a large expat population here, compared to Al Ain.
So if you live in Dubai, why don't you head down to Al Ain for a weekend during Ramadan and truly partake the spectacular festivities taking place in the city.
Moral of this story: Every festival is celebrated differently in different cities, so travelling around the country during this time can be very beneficial and who knows you'll experience something absoloutely new!