Thousands of dates were sold at shops in Abu Dhabi’s vibrant market in the days leading up to Ramadan.
It is a tradition for worshippers to break their fast with water and dates. The holy month is the peak season for sales across the Muslim world.
On the first day of Ramadan, the date market at Mina Zayed was busier than usual.
I wanted to feel the Ramadan vibes, so I intended to do the date shopping on the first day
Shops welcomed at least three customers at a time and some owners said they sold dates to more than 100 people only a few hours after opening their doors.
Mohammed Al Hali, of Al Bhahja Fruits and Vegetables, said he sold 600 boxes of dates since Sunday.
He said he expected to sell about 2,000 boxes by the end of the month.
“Last year we sold that much, so I already ordered 2,000 boxes for the month,” he said.
He said he only sold about 150 boxes a month at other times of year.
While demand for dates increased sharply during Ramadan, he said prices remained the same. He sells dates at Dh10 ($2.70) a kilogram.
Hashir Shukoor, keeper of Bou kharkhash fruits and dates shop, said he also expects to sell 2,000 boxes throughout the month.
“Last year we did not sell much because of coronavirus, but this year it is already very busy,” he said.
“Today 150 people came already, and it is not 4pm yet. They bought dates, spices and other items.”
However, he believes the surge in customers will probably only last for the first 10 days of Ramadan, saying “before Eid, people head more to the vegetables and meat markets, so this is our top season”.
The most popular type of dates for Ramadan is Ajwa, he said.
“In normal days, people buy more majdoul, mabroum and khalas.”
The Royal Dates shop also reported high levels of trade and said they had catered to 70 customers by early afternoon on Tuesday.
“It stays busy all Ramadan, before we only got very few customers a day.”
He said in Ramadan 2020, they also had a drop of sales due to the pandemic.
“But the years before, we’ve always had an average of 70 customers per day,” he said.
Bilal Ajawi, from Palestine, stood in line carrying his six-month-old baby, Jad, over his shoulder.
“This is the first time I’ve taken him out with me shopping,” said Mr Ajawi.
“I wanted to feel the Ramadan vibes, so I intended to do the date shopping on the first day.”
As a regular customer at the market at this time of day, he said Tuesday was much busier than any other day of the year.
“I come every week to buy dates for the house and vegetables.
“It’s just me and my wife so I only buy 1kg every week.”
He said dates are a regular component of his daily diet.
“I consume three dates for iftar and three for suhour.”
Another shopper seemed less excited about his date shopping.
“Dates are not my cup of tea, I barely eat three dates for iftar. I am here on my wife’s request,” said Ahmad Idris.
“She wants the dates coated with cocoa and coconut.”
He said for the last four years, their date shopping has evolved and they have been buying more elaborate products instead of regular dates.
“They keep coming up with new [kinds of dates],” he said.
Updated: April 14, 2021 08:27 AM