The Ramadan shopping season

The New York Times notes that Ramadan has become a big occasion for shopping in Muslim countries. Ramadan becomes a shopping holiday—this is a good thing for a holiday some have coined "Bombadan" because of the frequency of bombings during this period.

Once an ascetic month of fasting, prayer and reflection on God, Ramadan has gradually taken on the commercial trappings of Christmas and Hanukkah, from the hanging lights that festoon windows to the Ramadan greeting cards and Ramadan sales and advertising campaigns that have become the backbone of commerce for the month.

Marketers and businesses have caught on to the potential of 1.3 billion people at home fasting or breaking their daily fasts and getting back to normal life, a captive audience eager for entertainment and celebration, and more than willing to feast when the sun goes down.

Here in Dubai, the region's supermall, commercialism has taken on a life of its own as almost everything has been dressed in the cloak of Ramadan, from consumer goods to cars. Malls are open till the early morning, and the nights rock away at dinner parties in desert tents.

"Ramadan is changing from a religious month to a cultural or social event," said Muhammad el—Kuwaiz, a Saudi management consultant based in Dubai. "You're using faith to commercialize something else. It doesn't feel right."

Ed Lasky    10 14 05

The New York Times notes that Ramadan has become a big occasion for shopping in Muslim countries. Ramadan becomes a shopping holiday—this is a good thing for a holiday some have coined "Bombadan" because of the frequency of bombings during this period.

Once an ascetic month of fasting, prayer and reflection on God, Ramadan has gradually taken on the commercial trappings of Christmas and Hanukkah, from the hanging lights that festoon windows to the Ramadan greeting cards and Ramadan sales and advertising campaigns that have become the backbone of commerce for the month.

Marketers and businesses have caught on to the potential of 1.3 billion people at home fasting or breaking their daily fasts and getting back to normal life, a captive audience eager for entertainment and celebration, and more than willing to feast when the sun goes down.

Here in Dubai, the region's supermall, commercialism has taken on a life of its own as almost everything has been dressed in the cloak of Ramadan, from consumer goods to cars. Malls are open till the early morning, and the nights rock away at dinner parties in desert tents.

"Ramadan is changing from a religious month to a cultural or social event," said Muhammad el—Kuwaiz, a Saudi management consultant based in Dubai. "You're using faith to commercialize something else. It doesn't feel right."

Ed Lasky    10 14 05