Ramadan is no wonder, the best time period of a Muslim’s life. It’s not just about abstaining from food rather it’s more about detoxification of one’s mind, body and soul. It’s about getting rid of the bad habits and take a fresh new start- aiming to be a better Muslim than before. As much as looking up to it with great enthusiasm, different and pretty much interesting Ramadan traditions can be observed around the world.
Ninth month of the Muslim calendar, Ramadan, is an obligation towards Muslims. Muslims are obligated to adhere to follow Ramadan rules, which include fasting from dawn to dusk without eating anything in between while also refraining from committing any sinful acts.
Muslims observe fasts in the same manner all across the world, yet Ramadan customs vary from place to place. Let’s have a look at them.
1. Ramadan Traditions in Pakistan: Pakistani Iftar Recipes
At the end of a long day, people can’t wait to get their hands on the beloved samosas, pakoras and chaat. Nothing can beat oh-so-savory snacks neither can any other dish fulfill the appetite of a Pakistani. Though being well aware of its harmful impacts on health, the majority still get their wish fulfilled by munching on these delightful snacks. Apart from that, arranging iftar parties is also one of the Ramadan customs in Pakistan.
2. Ramadan Traditions in the Egypt: The Ramadan Lanterns
Popularly known as ‘Fanous’ of Ramadan, the Lanterns are a traditional hit in Egypt. Ramadan celebrations are rejoiced each year by decorating streets with these lanterns. It is said that in 969 when Caliph Moezz Eddin Allah arrived in Cairo, hundreds of these lanterns were lit to welcome him. Ever since then, it has become one of the traditions of Ramadan.
It is also stated that the Fatimid Caliph Al-Hakim bi Amr Al-Lāh wanted the streets of Cairo to be well-lit at night, during the holy month of Ramadan, with these famous fanous. Likewise, other folklores also narrate such stories, similar to it, that led to the lantern tradition.
3.Ramadan Traditions in Turkey: The Drumming Culture
In the middle of the night, right an hour or so before the sun rises, a drummer wanders through streets beating the drum fervently donned in Ottoman attire. This is done in order to wake the Muslims for sehri.
The tradition of these drummers dates back to the Ottoman Empire. However, the official costume and membership card for these drummers has been introduced only five years ago. Though this tradition also exists in Pakistan, but is not observed with much zeal as it was used to.
4. Ramadan Traditions in the Makkah: Ramadan Cannon
While in the holy city of Mecca, a fascinating activity is held each year, where a cannon ball is shot at sun-up (Sehri) to alert people to observe fast while the same procedure is held at sundown (Iftar) giving green signal to break the fast.
Its origin, dates back to Hijri year 859, when the sultan of Egypt shot a cannon that he had just received in order to test it. It was Maghreb time when he fired the cannonball. This, people thought of as Sultan’s way of telling that it was the time to break the fast. Since then, this custom is linked to Ramadan and is carried out every year.
5. Ramadan Traditions in the Maldives: Raivaru
Ramadan practices in Maldives, locally known as “Roadha Mas” start with full zeal and enthusiasm. During the iftar, various local dishes are prepared for example, ‘kulhi boakibaa’ (fish cake), ‘foniboakiba’ (a flour cake) and ‘gulha’ (fish balls).
After iftar, the poets are asked to recite Raivaru; Ramadan related poetry. This Maldivian ancient-traditional form of poetry is greatly adored by the locals. It comprises of three or more lines with the distinct rhythmic pattern of poetry.
6. Ramadan Traditions in the Comoros: Social Vibrancy
As compared to the normal routine, the people of Comoros become more social in Ramadan and vibrancy can be observed in the surroundings. Once the fast is broken at dusk, people head towards the public places called “bangwé”. From there, they move on towards mosques, where they are served with coffee and dates.
After that people go home to have a healthy meal which mainly includes fish, fried bananas, meat skewers and pancakes.
Do you know: In Comoros, the newly wed husband’s family is invited over for dinner in the month of Ramadan as in that part of the world, the couple lives at woman’s house after marriage (Source: France 24)
7. Ramadan Traditions in Algeria: The Waking Nights
As much fascinating as it may sound, the people of Algeria unlike their normal routines, stay up all night. Markets are open all night long and streets are quite active too. People buy stuff from stalls and wander around chatting with each other. They also arrange religious festivities at night, all these activities carry-on till ‘suhur’. Due to this reason, the work next day then starts an hour or so late.
8. Ramadan Traditions in Iraq: The Game
Ramadan practices in Iraq are observed in the same manner, from suhur to prayers and iftar to tarawih, but owing to distinct traditions, a very popular game is played during the month of Ramadan called “the ring game”. It’s a game where two teams are made, each consisting of 10 or 20 people. One member of the team has to hand over the rings to another member of the same team while the opposite team has to guess that who could possibly be hiding them. People usually give themselves away by blushing.
Also, a number of TV programs are aired in collaboration with banks. This is done in order to raise money for displaced people of war.
9. Ramadan Traditions in the Morocco: Much ahead of Time
While most of the countries start Ramadan preparations just one or two days ahead of the holy month, Moroccans start such practices two or three weeks ahead of it. People paint their houses, clean them up and shine their kitchen utensils. They also start inviting their friends and relatives to feasts, to arouse the atmosphere of the holy month prior to it.
10. Ramadan Traditions in the Qatar: Garangao
Garangao is a tradition revived each year on the 14th day of Ramadan. It’s basically a fun activity for children. This day, recognizes the efforts of children in fasting, half way through Ramadan and proves to be a great source of motivation for them.
Children on this day wear their traditional Qatari dresses and carry decorated bags after Maghrib prayers and walk around their neighborhood, singing their traditional Garangao song. They do so, while striking stones together, thereby, creating rhythm. This is what Garangao, which comes from word ‘Gara’, means ‘sound of stones knocking together.’ Children are then given sweets and nuts.
Islam is a beautiful religion that gives Muslims countless opportunities to revert back to ALLAH. Ramadan being one of the greatest blessings, gives Muslims the chance to ponder on their wrongdoings and purify their souls.
This month is about accepting one’s flaws and finding the motivation to purge them out of life and submit good deeds to Allah-The Almighty. This month brings along with it a great sense of peace and tranquility around the Muslim world, unite them while prevailing love and affection.
Such diverse traditions add to the beauty of this holy month. Do you follow any such or different tradition in your area? If so, do share with us.
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