JEDDAH: Ramadan tents, usually decorated with lights, have always been popular during the holy month.
The idea is believed to have been inspired by Egyptians’ charitable tents, where each neighborhood would provide a huge tent serving free iftar and suhoor meals to those in need.
During the meals, talented men from the neighborhood would play instruments and sing to entertain guests.
The idea spread to other Arab countries, where it has become big business. Tents serve the best traditional dishes in each country, and an open buffet. The charge depends on how fancy the tent is and which hotel is providing it.
Ramadan tents in Saudi Arabia were often confined to hotel rooftops and halls, mostly providing iftar and suhoor but without entertainment. But lately, Ramadan activities in the Kingdom have become more entertaining.
On May 9, 2019, an official Twitter account @MawsemRamadan (Ramadan Season) was launched to keep Saudis abreast of various activities organized by the General Entertainment Authority in the cities of Jeddah, Makkah, Madinah, Riyadh and Dammam.
The new Al-Mirkaz tent in Jeddah, with its luxurious style, combines the modern day with the traditional Ramadan atmosphere in the Hijaz region.
It was built this year, attracting different segments of Saudi society and accommodating more than 600 people. The tent offers guests exquisite Saudi, Mediterranean, Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine. The minimum charge is SR370 ($98.66) for iftar, SR400 for suhoor and SR220 for the shisha lounge.
Saudi entrepreneurs showcase their projects at the tent’s side booths. It has been attended by a number of Gulf social media influencers, and Tunisian singer Saber Rebai.
Qamra in Jeddah is more of a Ramadan night than a tent, supporting local brands and gathering many Saudi entrepreneurs and their projects under one roof.
In its third edition, its theme this year is urban designs, and it hosts more than 100 booths for elite Saudi fashion and abaya designers.
Qamra also includes cafes and restaurants, and has been attended by Gulf social media influencers.
“Qamra vibes are the best. I’m really proud to have such activities in the town. It helps promote local talents,” said Zahra Al-Shibani, representing Saudi fashion and accessories brand Mishkat.
The price of entry ranges from SR100 to SR400.