Doha Talking: Ramadan

11 Jul 2013

Whether it’s hanging with family and friends, heading to a scrumptious suhoor or just chilling, Ramadan can be the time of your life. We ask five Doha personalities what they’re up to...

Marjolijn Stolk, Artist and Chairperson of International Artists Doha [IAD]
“For me, Ramadan means reflecting on family values and being with friends. As most of my family is back home in the Netherlands, it’s nice to spend time with the ones you care about while living so far away. We’re invited by Arabic friends to join in for iftar, which makes us feel closer to our family as well. As Ramadan now takes place during the summer holidays, we have more time to catch up with family and friends, too.”

Bonnie Jung, Director of Catering at The St Regis Doha
“I’m Jamaican and this Ramadan is my third here. For me, Ramadan is an opportunity to experience something different. The atmosphere in Doha changes; it’s a time for family and reflection. Also, Ramadan means our ballroom is really busy. Last year, we had 14,000 guests celebrate iftar and suhoor, and this year we’re expecting even more. This is a chance for me to meet, interact and share the celebration with the guests. It’s a very rewarding experience.”

Ibrahim Hamam, Executive Arabic Chef of Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels
“During the Holy Month of Ramadan, everything feels better. Families, friends and neighbours get together to tell and live the same story – a story of love, kindness and good deeds.  While Ramadan can mean many things to different people, for me, it is a time of self-reflection.  As a chef, Ramadan is also the ultimate test of patience. I find it extremely rewarding when I get to break my fast, having been in the kitchen all day without being able to taste any of the dishes (a non-fasting chef will taste the dishes on my behalf).The entire hotel team has been preparing for this important month for a while now and everything is ready!”

Halal Bilal
comedian and founder of StandUp Comedy Qatar
“Ramadan is the time of year when I focus every waking hour on food and debauchery, when I put on weight and spend money lavishly... Nah, just kidding! With the temptations around us, it’s easy for Ramadan to become like that, but I try to spend plenty of time in my two favourite mosques – the State Mosque and the Katara Friday Mosque. I also see a lot of my friends. I’m South African and, like many Muslim expats, friends play a big part in building a good Ramadan environment for me.”

Menna Hazem, Doha Film Institute Media Relations Strategist
“Ramadan is about the special bond between family and friends. It’s a time to get together, especially for those people who don’t see enough of each other. Everyone dines together, which doesn’t happen as often as we’d like during the rest of the year. It’s also a very spiritual time.”