By Sumayyah Meehan, TMO
The celebration of Ramadan, in the Middle East region, is a spectacular affair full of worship, fasting and just being kind to your fellow neighbor. Restaurants, cafes and local businesses pull out all of the stops by offering special late night menus and a special dessert menu to tempt just about any palate. While food is a big part of the Ramadan tradition, since the breaking of the fast is one of the great joyâ€™s bestowed upon Muslims by God Almighty, there is also another tradition that continues to grow bigger with each passing year.
The holy season of Ramadan heralds in a whole month full of blessings that fill the Muslimâ€™s heart with joy, from the crack of dawn until the sun makes its serene descent towards the gilded horizon. However, once the sun sets, there is nothing dim about the auspicious nights of Ramadan. From Cairo to Palestine, tiny lanterns and strands of brightly colored bulbs ensure that the Ramadan nights sparkle. The skies are set aglow with brightly colored lights that either hang effortlessly midair or are manipulated into grandiose shapes in all sizes.
While most Islamic nations in the region do trim city streets with Ramadan fare, there is one tiny municipality that just does it better. In Abu Dhabi, which is a municipality of the United Arab Emirates, the streets are decked out in thousands upon thousands of tiny bulbs. Each year, teams of workers hang and dangle countless numbers of lights, lanterns and decorations all around the municipality. This year is no different, as the Abu Dhabi government shelled out a massive $136,000 to light up parts of the municipalityâ€™s infrastructure.
In just over two weeks, workers completed the gargantuan task in record time. Bridges and tunnels around the Corniche serve as the foundation for the elaborate decorations which includes giant stars, golden crescents and â€œRamadan Kareemâ€ signs. Heavy-duty cables, that have been inspected and approved by Abu Dhabi authorities, were enlisted to guarantee that the decorations and lanterns hang safely above. The whole undertaking is environmentally friendly as well. Light-Emitting Diodes, or LED lights, have been used to conserve energy. LED lights use an estimated 90% less energy than traditional bulbs and produce less heat which is a vital safety measure in the arid regions of the Middle East. The decorations will remain in place until after the Eid holidays have been celebrated.