UAE - Many UAE residents are busy preparing to welcome Ramadan as they decorate their homes with lights, banners and special corners dedicated to learning more during the holy month.

For Syrian expat Alaa, the practice of decorating her home is a fairly new tradition. “As kids, we never decorated the homes,” she said.

“But in the UAE, when Ramadan comes, you see lights and décor everywhere, whether you go to malls or the supermarket. It begins to feel festive. So, I decided to do up my house as well.”

Living in Ajman with her parents and brother, Alaa started small with some lights and hangings but over the years, the décor has become more extravagant. “Earlier my parents were not very interested when I started putting up the lights,” she said.

“But now, they are more excited than me. They follow me eagerly as I go around the house decorating. My mother even wanted to put lights in the balcony but unfortunately, we don’t have an electric point there.”

Husband and wife duo Komal and Zeeshan Toor began decorating their homes when their kids were younger. “We have a 6-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter,” said Zeeshan.

“Doing decorations with children always gives the added bonus of building up excitement and anticipation for the beautiful month of Ramadan.”

Komal says it is also a time for her to teach children some valuable lessons. “Every Ramadan, I also get new Islamic books,” she said.

“They have learnt so many duas and sunnah teachings because of these books. Also, we reuse old decorations every year. We add things here and there. It keeps our home lively and is a wonderful family tradition that we cherish.”

Zeeshan said the couple always try to buy décor from small local businesses in a bid to support them.

Mum of two Sadia Anwar was behind one of the small businesses that launched Ramadan décor in 2016. “At the time, I wanted to decorate my house for Ramadan for my kids but could not find anything in the market,” she said.

“I saw a huge gap in the market and launched a line of banners, gift boxes and cupcake toppers. It was a big hit then, but we didn’t manage to sell the whole stock. During the following years, the market started to be flooded with Ramadan décor and obviously we couldn’t keep up with the prices that big chains were offering.”

Sadia still continues to decorate her house every Ramadan. Adding colour to the décor is a painting her 8-year-old daughter made. “This painting is so precious to me,” she said. “It depicts our entire family and signifies how the holy month is often a time to not just reconnect with Allah but with each other too.”

Pakistani expat Tabinda tries to make Ramadan as interesting as she can for her children. “I always tell my kids to imagine how we set up and clean our homes when a new guest has to come over,” she said. “Ramadan is like our favorite guest, so we have to welcome it with full enthusiasm, love and colours. We always put up lights inside our home – kids love the twinkling stars and moons and they give such a warm and cosy feel during Ramadan nights. We also put up a Ramadan Kareem banner, some balloons, an advent calendar some lanterns and candles around”

Tabinda also prepares Ramadan baskets with activities, books and crafts about the holy month for her kids to learn more about Islam in a fun way.

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