Stay modest and respect local culture during the Holy Month
Debbie Jaunich from the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding explains why modest dress is model behaviour, particularly during Ramadan.
Why are dress codes all the more important during Ramadan? ‘Residents and visitors are asked to be mindful of their dress, in particular during Ramadan because Muslims will be fasting during daylight hours, and fasting is a form of worship. It is all really about recognising the Holy Month and its disciplines, which include avoiding wrongdoing and perfecting good behaviour, which includes modest dress.’
What is the exact dress code? ‘It’s actually very easy: cover from the shoulders to the knee, and that’s for both men and women. Women should wear capped sleeves as a minimum: spaghetti straps are not so appealing during Ramadan. It really is better to cover more of your arm than just your shoulders, but that’s the bare minimum. Definitely no minis and no shortie-shorts. Dubai’s pretty liberal, but you may get stopped by mall security during Ramadan if you’re inappropriately dressed.’
Should we cover up on the beach? ‘Beachwear at the beach is fine, just don’t wear it off the beach. Hotel areas are more flexible, but even visitors should try to be considerate because there are iftars and other events at hotels that Muslims will be attending.’ For more on Dubai’s cultural rules and the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding visit www.cultures.ae