‘Happy Ramadan’ in major store in the US

Ramadan is a blessed time and is also a festive time.

July 03, 2014

Amal Al-Sibai

Amal Al-Sibai

Saudi Gazette

Ramadan is a blessed time and is also a festive time. You can feel Ramadan in the air on the streets of Cairo and Jeddah and other cities in the Muslim world. Traditional lanterns, food stalls adorned in red fabric displaying delightful sweets, and the echoing of the sound of late night prayers are hallmarks of Ramadan.

In the West, the joy of Ramadan is not as evident. The celebration is locked dearly in the hearts of Muslims and it fills their homes and mosques, and when Muslims see each other in the mall or grocery store, they warmly greet one another with, “Ramadan Kareem.”

However, this year in a small American town, Ramadan is showing in all of its colors and beauty.

At a major and well known department store, shoppers are surprised with a rare sight: congratulatory signs, decorations, and well wishes to all Muslims on the blessed month of Ramadan. Signs saying ‘Happy Ramadan’ are dispersed throughout the store.

A vibrant Muslim woman, a designer and entrepreneur was behind this welcome initiative.

Jomana Siddiqui is a designer who has her own online company for holiday goods and party ware. Several months ago, she was approached by a Macy’s employee in California, inquiring about a project to decorate their store for Ramadan.

“I was floored! How wonderful, that Macy’s would honor their Muslim employees with such a gesture. I let the employee know that we could of course accommodate her request. However, I recognized that decorating a retail environment would involve specific guidelines. She passed on my information to her manager, who would get in touch with me shortly. I awaited the call with anticipation,” said Siddiqui.

The Macy’s branch to receive a makeover in celebration of Ramadan was in Orange County, a small city that is home to a growing Muslim community and also receives a large influx of tourists from the Gulf region in the summer months.

“Macy’s was well aware of this phenomenon, recognized the importance of the customer group, and was looking to make them feel welcome. We scheduled a meeting to discuss the store’s needs, and how we could help,” said Siddiqui.

Muslims are more and more becoming an active, influential, and productive part of American society, and seeing their special occasion being celebrated in public means a lot to them.

Siddiqui was so excited about this proposition that she was practically jumping up and down in jubilation like a schoolgirl. She took this as an opportunity to inform and educate people about the meaning and significance of Ramadan and Eid.

Siddiqui and her team busied themselves immediately to design the Ramadan displays for Macy’s.

“It was happening. It was really happening. I found myself sitting at my computer, designing a display for Macy’s. The wonder and opportunity is not lost on me, this is a dream come true and a mission realized. As exciting as this was, it didn’t stop there,” Siddiqui recalled.

“Later, I was asked to come in for another meeting, in order to finalize details and discuss the possibility of Macy’s hosting a ‘Welcome Ramadan’ party. I shared with them some dates of Ramadan and my thoughts on what would be optimal for a good turnout,” added Siddiqui.

“Everyone at Macy’s South Coast Plaza that I met on this journey has been so supportive, kind, and excited about the project. Although everyone recognizes that this is good marketing to an important customer base, they haven’t lost sight of the significance. While spearheading this project, the store realized they wanted their Muslim employees to know that Macy’s cares about them. I was told that when one employee heard about the project, she was so moved she began to tear up,” said Siddiqui.

July 03, 2014
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