The spirit of Ramadan: Gathering with our Muslim Community Network Employee Resource Group to celebrate Ramadan

Celebrating Ramadan at Zalando: How our Muslim Community Network ERG infuses the Ramadan spirit - and creates awareness among the company as a whole

5 min
12 April 2024

At Zalando, we honour the diversity of all our team members: Of course, this also applies to the respective traditions and practices of their faith. Saliha Ince and Talha Bhutta, both part of our Muslim ERG (Employee Resource Group) show what this can look like during important festivities such as Ramadan – and why breaking the fast (Iftar) is also celebrated at Zalando. 


Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are employee-led groups formed on the basis of shared identity or experiences. ERGs aim to create safer spaces and communities where colleagues come together to discuss their experiences and share ideas. ERGs amplify employee voices and provide constructive feedback and improvement proposals to leadership about the needs of communities.
The work of ERGs fosters a diverse and inclusive workplace, raises awareness, and supports members’ growth and development while supporting Zalando
to be an employer of choice for diverse communities. 

Muslim Community Network ERG at Zalando

The Muslim ERG is a big group of people from many countries who share common values, and who interact with and support one another. There was an increase of about 40% from last year, therefore, the Muslim ERG currently consists of 350 members. It provides a sense of belonging, support, and connection, allowing individuals to share experiences and exchange knowledge. 

The meaning of Ramadan:

Ramadan is a month among the 12 months of the Islamic year (which is based on the lunar calendar). During this month, Muslims observe fasting from dawn till sunset. For many, fasting is more than not eating and drinking for a certain period; it is a physical, mental and inner purification, and it disciplines the ego. As Saliha explains, fasting helps her realise the blessings she has –  and to be grateful for them, especially for things many of us take for granted, such as e.g. drinking water. 

The best and the most challenging parts of the holy month:

For Talha, the best part of this month lies in the vibe of jubilation, festivity and blessing. But Ramadan is a lot more than that, as Saliha states: For her, fasting required during Ramadan leads to a shift in focus away from external stimuli, including food, which allows for deeper introspection and contemplation. That being said, she admits that it can be challenging to adapt to the new sleeping pattern and to get enough sleep.

Breaking the fast at Zalando

In general, it is a very important tradition to break fast together with family and friends –  so for both Saliha and Talha, it was only natural to do this with the extended family at Zalando as well. Moreover, events like these also invite other Zalandos to come and meet the community –  and to learn more about Islam and its practices.

Supporting each other during Ramadan:

Since eating and drinking are not allowed during the day people are more engaged in doing extra acts of virtue in addition to the regular must-dos: The community members try to allow each other to have more personal time and minimise time stealers. As an example, Talha mentions shared acts of virtue through breaking fast together, going to worship together, charity, etc.

Organising Iftar:

Saliha explains that Iftar is organised by the ERG core team, which she is a proud member of. According to her, the most special part is to meet the community members in person to share the same feelings with people from all over the world, and breaking fast together.

Main dishes during Iftar:

Every region has their special Iftar menus, yet the focus is on dishes that are not regularly prepared outside the month of Ramadan. Talha explains that samosas are one of the most common Iftar items in Asia and the Middle East. In general, though, the fast is broken with dates and water, then soup, a main dish and salad, plus a light dessert, such as a fruit salad (locally referred to as fruit chaat).

Community’s support during Ramadan:

The core team has prepared a Ramadan slide deck with details of Ramadan and suggestions on how to support Muslim colleagues and employees during Ramadan. This has been shared company-wide, especially with leaders – and has received a lot of positive feedback!

Ramadan awareness campaign helps in creating a supportive and inclusive work environment that fosters a sense of belonging for all Zalandos. Zalando support demonstrates our commitment to D&I by ensuring every individual feels accepted and valued. It aims to promote understanding among Zalandos regarding Ramadan and fasting and provide guidance on navigating flexible options to support employees while maintaining productivity. Additionally, it facilitates effective communication and collaboration. Ultimately, this wider sense of commitment enhances the well-being, engagement, loyalty, motivation, and retention of community members and all Zalandos.

Celebrating religious feasts at Zalando:

For both Saliha and Talha, being able to celebrate Iftar at Zalando is a great initiative that gives them a feeling and sense of belonging, identity, and validation. As Saliha explains, Zalando allocates specific budgets to all ERG groups, which the Muslim community ERG uses for delightful Iftar gatherings and memorable Eid celebrations.