With lockdowns not yet behind us, the family time I yearn for the most is breakfast together at 3 a.m.
They’d send my mother to wake me up, gently at first - followed by my father, with a fair warning that, if I miss out on the eggs, I’ve got no one to blame but myself. I trace the scent of home-cooking to find my way, sleepy-eyed but hungry, to my seat at the kitchen table.
Do you know many families that get together for a big breakfast - the whole family - at 3a.m.? You may think not, but the chances are that you know a few more than you realise. Islam is the second largest religion in the UK and getting up for Suhoor, a pre-dawn breakfast during the month of Ramadan, is a typical scene for many Muslim families.
Many people do know, however, that Ramadan, which starts today, is a holy month that involves a daily fast from food and drink - even water - from dawn to sunset. Most don’t realise, however, that the British Muslim community spends a whopping £20.5 billion a year in the UK. This most important month in the Muslim calendar alone involves £200 million of spending power.
What’s more, despite the fact that 75% of Muslims would love brands to cater to them during the fasting period, it remains a lost opportunity. As a fasting Muslim working in the industry, I’d like to help change that.
Moving beyond tokenism
Many people I’ve spoken with have confessed that they want to create campaigns for the Muslim community but don’t know how to approach it without getting out of their depth into religion or the superficial tokenism of ‘Let’s show a hijab in the ad’.
You might be surprised, too, to discover that Ramadan traditions go far beyond food and prayer. For a single month every year, the way a Muslim experiences the world changes.
For many of us, it’s a time to reset and reconnect with what we love and to be good to ourselves and to those around us. It isn’t a month that is simply endured. It’s a month many enjoy.
Here are a few different ways your Muslim colleagues and peers will be experiencing the month, and ways for brands to connect with the whole community.