Discovering cultural diversity of the GCC through the eyes of TikTok’s creators during Ramadan

April 05, 2024

by Kinda Ibrahim Regional General Manager of Operations, TikTok Middle East, Turkey, Africa, Pakistan, and South Asia

Ramadan stands out in the region’s yearly calendar. It's a month for reflection, spirituality, giving back to the community, gatherings with loved ones, and heartwarming family traditions. Yet, it is more than just a period for personal reflection; it’s an opportunity to showcase one’s rich cultural heritage to the world. With content platforms breaking down geographical barriers, today’s generation are embracing content platforms like TikTok to proudly exhibit their timeless customs, offering others a glimpse into the diverse and meaningful moments that make the Holy Month so special.

Over the years, platforms like TikTok have grown into invaluable repositories of cultural heritage and traditions. Through engaging and interactive short-form content, people from diverse backgrounds can appreciate narratives and nuances of the different regions and faiths. Additionally, content platforms provide a gateway for people, especially in the region, to connect with their roots and share collective experiences, fostering empathy and understanding.

We see the use of dedicated Ramadan hashtags to share moments of unity, joy, cultural celebrations, and culinary traditions, spreading the spirit of the season to every corner of the globe. Recently, TikTok introduced a comprehensive guide tailored to diverse community needs during this sacred time. At the heart of the guide is the #Ramadan2024 hashtag, which has become a digital gathering place for creating rich and entertaining content to discuss everything from home decor ideas and delicious iftar recipes to customs, trends in fashion, and skincare routines during Ramadan. This trending hashtag has garnered over 769.4K posts and continues to grow, highlighting the significance creators place on nurturing ongoing dialogues and cultivating a community throughout this period.

Discussion during this time have also become livelier and more multifaceted, which is reflected in other popular hashtags this year like #RamadanPreps, featuring engaging videos on marketplaces and family events and activities; #TikTokCookBook and #WhereToEat, where people post Ramadan recipes and dining spots; and #WhatToWear and #TikTokSalon, providing trendy outfit inspirations and styling hacks. #RamadanHealth has also been gaining traction with content that provides valuable tips on maintaining health and wellbeing during fasting, covering topics like nutritious meal options and exercise routines. Likewise, #WhatToWatch has become a hub for all things movies and TV shows, where the community shares their recommendations and analysis for the latest TV show episodes, especially with exclusive Ramadan series.

Communities worldwide also sees content platforms, like TikTok, as a powerful tool during Ramadan to amplify their voices and advocate for inclusivity and tolerance, creating a sense of togetherness. They generously share their diverse rituals, customs, and daily routines during, inviting those who may not be familiar to delve into their heritage and values. Community members exploring Ramadan-related content on TikTok will see uplifting videos of cultural richness, such as the bustling streets of Egypt adorned with bright lights, teeming with food markets, traditional performances and skilled artisans showcasing their creations. In a similar vein, they might come across displays of kindness in Dubai, as volunteers distribute food boxes at mosques for communal iftars each evening. They will be moved by the soul-stirring recitations of the Quran shared by creators or the jubilant festivities in the celebration of Eid al-Fitr in Saudi Arabia. TikTok’s foodies also get creative with their videos about treasured family recipes, explaining the backstory and importance of dishes and the enduring food traditions they represent. Others take viewers behind-the-scenes into their kitchen and dining area to break their fast with their nearest and dearest.

The TikTok community has played a crucial role in showcasing the diverse expressions of Ramadan. It is a valuable teaching moment for different communities, especially expatriates in the Middle East, who can immerse themselves in the cultural fabric of their surroundings. To further provide a window into the way of life in the region, TikTok has initiated a series of LIVE streams this year called "My Ramadan”. They cover a range of topics from recommended dishes and popular iftar spots to cherished family traditions. Viewers can also tune in to "Ramadan Kitchen" for culinary demonstrations, "Ramadan Fashion" for style tips, and "Active Fasting" for fitness routines tailored to fasting individuals.

Content platforms are a convenient medium to break barriers and bring the community together. This is particularly evident during Ramadan, a time when people seek connections. It’s truly remarkable to see this continuous cultural exchange and collective human experience through the lens of TikTok. As the community seize this opportunity to reconnect with their past, celebrate their present, and transcend barriers of culture and religion, they create an enriching experience for everyone worldwide.

April 05, 2024
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