Saudi Arabia: The Ramadan Rush


Anyone in Saudi Arabia, whether a Saudi or expatriate, are feeling the Ramadan rush now.  The banks, government offices, schools and many businesses are now closed until after Eid al Fitr.  As a result, there is now a party atmosphere in Saudi Arabia with many shops and malls staying open until suhoor.  The streets are crowded and the malls are full.  Chances are the ATM machines are running short of cash too.


This is the time when it is recommended for anyone in Saudi to draw on cash when going shopping or out to eat.  If an ATM machine is not out of cash, chances are that the financial networks are delayed or down due to being overloaded.


Just like the week before Christmas is the busiest shopping time in the West, the week before Ramadan is the busiest shopping time in Saudi Arabia.  It is traditional for Saudi families to receive several complete outfits during Ramadan.  Complete means with shoes, jewelry, handbag and any other accessories.  Some families may also exchange Eid gifts with each other.


The month of Ramadan starts out slow and quiet but ends in a crescendo followed by three days of Eid Celebrations.  Not surprisingly it can take several weeks after Ramadan before it’s business again as usual.


3 Responses

  1. sounds like a fun time!

  2. Oh, a it’s a fun time, for sure, but you would think the shop owners & malls would take advantage of this time and OPEN during the day. The malls open at 6, and the souks open from 2 – 5:30 then again at 9pm till past midnight. I am one of the few women who like to get their shopping groove on early, so that I am out of the ensuing evening circus.

  3. Unfortunately Robin you are in the minority. Most folks are only waking up when the shops start to open.

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