We scoured two of the UAE’s biggest Ramadan bazaars – at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre and Expo Centre Sharjah – for the coolest finds of the month, which include traditional handmade Indian slippers, pure Ghanaian cocoa butter and high-end Japanese massage chairs.
Ramadan and Eid Show 2016 – Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre
A pleasant whiff of musky concoctions hits you as soon as you enter the exhibition hall at Adnec. Let your nose guide you to Uma Sultan Al Yasse stall in Hall 8, where thick, syrupy mukhallats (perfume oil mixes) will delight your senses. You can choose from frankincense musk, oud ambar and lavender flowers, which will be distilled into 220-gram bottles for Dh100. They can be used directly on the skin or burnt at home to release fragrances.
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If you are looking for a personalised gift for a loved one this Eid, get their name or a meaningful design sewed on to scarves, bedding and children’s clothes in less than a minute. This Italian brand, displayed at the Lebanon pavilion, has recently set up shop in Abu Dhabi and its seamstresses are trained by the company in Italy. You can take your own item to customise, too, but make sure it is cotton. Price on request.
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The month provides plenty of opportunities to host gatherings, so it’s a good time to pick up eye-catching tableware. This baby blue, acrylic six-piece tea set with golden Arabic letters was handmade in Turkey. The set costs Dh1,600. You can also add gold name tags with the words “tea” or “coffee” engraved in Arabic on the teapot for Dh25.
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Isukoshi Royal UFO
The name of this massage chair might make you chuckle at first, but get into it and you’ll see the Japanese company that created it means serious business. This is just what you need after a stressful day at work to relax your muscles and take away all the aches and pains. The monster chair sucks you in as soon as you sit in it. You feet will slip into warm pockets and your arms are enveloped into the roller-equipped armrests. The chair has 16 massage options to target the feet, arms, shoulders and back, and the inbuilt heat intensifies muscle recovery. The chair costs Dh12,800 at the exhibition and comes with a three-year warranty and lifetime service.
Intricately designed traditional rugs in block colours will draw you to this little stall set up outside the Syrian pavilion, near the main stage. You’ll even see a small weaving apparatus used to demonstrate how artisans in villages and factories meticulously put together each thread to make these thick, heavy carpets. But Persian carpets are an investment and can cost thousands of dirhams, so if you aren’t willing to shell out a big amount just yet, you can spruce up your wardrobe with a scarf that has similar traditional patterns. Price on request.
• The Ramadan and Eid Show 2016 is open from iftar to 1am everyday until July 5 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, www.adnec.ae
Ramadan Village – Expo Centre Sharjah
Ghanian cocoa butter
Farmers in Ghanian villages meticulously nurture and select the best cocoa pods to dry and extract the fragrant and creamy cocoa butter that melts as soon as it touches your skin. This Fair Trade product is being sold at the Faisi Craft Home stall in the African pavilion at the Sharjah Ramadan Village. Used to treat dry skin, scars and stretch marks, the moisturising cocoa butter is available at a deal for Dh10 for a small container and up to Dh150 for a kilo. The traders at the exhibition are supported by the Ghana Export Promotion Council.
These versatile, regal-looking slip-ons are a fitting accessory for traditional Indian attire, but can even spruce up a casual jeans-and-tee look. Handcrafted by artisans in the Indian state of Rajasthan they line the Rajasthani Mojaris stall in the Indian pavilion. The tanned leather is decorated with ethnic prints, which are either stitched directly onto the slippers or on an overlying colourful fabric to make them pop. Cotton threads are used to bind the sole and enmesh the leather fibres, so the slippers last longer. Men’s mojaris cost from Dh80, while women’s start from Dh40.
Chinese bedroom dresser
Artisans in Beijing hand-paint scenes from the times of the emperors on the furniture sold at Lees Arts Trading in the Chinese pavilion. This small, black lacquer dresser (Dh600) could easily be the focal point of the bedroom or be a centrepiece in the living room. Designs of an empress being waited on adorn the tabletop, while images of princesses playing in cherry blossom gardens are painted on the sides – sure to be a conversation starter.
Marble chess set
Shah Enterprises at the village has a range of items made of the finest marble from Pakistan, but this attention-grabbing onyx and marble chess set with dainty playing pieces (Dh150) is ideal to bring out at your next game night. The combination of black onyx and white marble creates a striking play of contrasts. The set comes wrapped in a portable blue velvet box.
Arabian picnic bag
A cooler bag needn’t be drab. The Khalifa Foundation stall has a limited range of these colourful and funky picnic carryalls (Dh70) – perfect to carry your tea or coffee sets and snack packs.
• Ramadan Village is open until July 7, from 9pm, at Expo Centre Sharjah, www.expocentresharjah.org
Source: art & life