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Friday, 21 September 2007
Ramadan tents go upmarket
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It seems that it is not just Christmas open to accusations of commercialisation – the price of Ramadan tents in Dubai is getting out of hand.
The tradition of late night Ramadan tents is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain as tent operators charge exorbitant prices for their services this year, Dubai residents have complained.
The tradition which has roots in post iftar Ramadan gatherings in the Arab world where members of a community meet to socialise, read the Quran or have the pre-dawn suhoor meal, has turned into a cash machine, they say.
The tent tradition has evolved into late night social gatherings where smoking shisha and having Arabic coffee in air conditioned tents is popular.
"It has become so difficult to keep up with our Ramadan tradition now. I used to go to a Ramadan tent every evening last year, but it seems that everybody is out to maximise their profit at the expense of our enjoyment," said Ali Khalid, a Dubai resident.
"I was shocked to see one hotel charging a minimum of Dh3,000 per night for VIP tables," he said.
Rami Shehadeh, Managing Director of IC events, which has set up a massive 'Living Room' tent in the Dubai Media City, told Gulf News the ambience his tent offers has not been matched yet. The tent, which accommodates 800 people, introduced a Dh100 cover charge for each of its 31 VIP sofa sets. Shehadeh said that upgrading of services, such as the introduction of live music bands, is necessary to stay ahead of competition, and "that costs us a lot".
Although the Living Room's price hikes are modest in comparison to some other tents, Shehadeh said a market exists for Ramadan tents no matter how expensive they become. "We were filled to capacity from day one of Ramadan."
Mu'ayyad Mehyar, 40ofJordan, Abu Dhabi said "I used to look forward to Ramadan but I'm not as enthusiastic as before. That is because the right context is not there anymore. The month is losing its religious character. It is becoming too commercialised and people do not understand the wisdom behind fasting, which is to purify the self, the soul and the body. People just eat more and watch more TV during Ramadan."
Related articles are:-
It is peak season for TV viewing in the Arab world and
'Greatest peril' of Ramadan is overindulgence'  
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Posted on 09/21/2007 2:22 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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