The Islamic Holy month of Ramadan is here. Every year, Ramadan falls on a different date according to the lunar calendar, which is based on the phases of the moon. Ramadan is observed by Muslims all over the world; during this time, they fast from dawn to sunset. This means they refrain from any food and drink during those hours. It lasts for around thirty days, during which Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset.
Nigeria has over 90 million Muslims. This is why as a Event Managers,we cannot overlook the importance of cultural sensitivity when planning an event during Ramadan. We are not oblivion that some events have been scheduled to hold during the Ramadan season; which means some of your attendees may be fasting this month.
While you cannot reschedule an event during this month, there are plenty of ways to help Muslims feel at ease at your event during the holy month
1. Let Physical Activities Come First
If your event requires physical activity or high levels of concentration, try to schedule it in the morning, as Muslims will have more energy. If your meeting includes physical activities, try scheduling it at the beginning of the day when all your attendees’ energy levels are high.
2. Serve Your Meals in Different Halls
Be mindful of where you place food at the meeting venue. If possible, serve all your meals in a different hall so those fasting don’t have to be around food while they cannot eat. If possible, arrange the lunch to take place outside of the main event room.
3. Don't Serve Strong-Smelling Foods
Do not serve strong-smelling foods like popcorn, fish, bacon, or spices like garlic. This can be very distracting for attendees.
4. Schedule Regular Breaks
For longer events, try to also arrange the breaks taking into consideration the Islamic prayer times, so Muslims don’t miss out on important event content. Do not hold working lunches. These are awkward for those observing Ramadan. Be aware of the different prayer times and try to schedule regular breaks at the event based on those timings.
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5. Designate a Prayer Room
For longer or full-day events, see if you can designate a prayer room at your venue, or if there’s a mosque nearby. Provide a prayer room close to the meeting room at the venue and inform your attendees of its availability. Since Muslims around the world pray in the direction of Mecca, try indicating the direction for prayer in the prayer room.
6. Schedule a Dinner Service
Since those observing fast can only eat after sunset, schedule dinner service accordingly so all attendees can enjoy a meal together. Include healthy salads and protein-rich food.
It is Islamic tradition to break a fast with dates and water. So make sure you have them on your menu as well.
Ramadan Kareem to everyone celebrating.