By Beenish Mahmood
Ramadan is celebrated by millions of Muslims across the globe. When it comes to Ramadan traditions, there are certain similarities as well as differences in how they are practiced around the world. Here is a list of few countries and how Ramadan celebrations differ slightly there.
Over the years, Haq Al Laila has become one of the most practiced Ramadan tradition in the UAE. Children of the neighborhood come out on the streets dressed cheerfully. They walk around the neighborhood, going door to door in bright colored clothes, singing songs and collecting sweets. The intent is to teach kids the purpose of fasting and Ramadan. It also strengthens the bonding among the community. Harees is a popular nutritious food eaten in UAE during Ramadan. It’s a combination of wheat, lentils, and meat.
Hot springs in Indonesia have a very significant spiritual and cultural importance. Just before Ramadan, Muslims go and perform a tradition called “padusan” which means to bathe in Javanese. They go to certain hot springs, and cleanse themselves there, washing themselves in preparation for the holy month. These hot springs differ in shapes and sizes. Some of them are in lakes, others have been turned into a swimming pool like structure to facilitate, and accommodate the number of people coming.
Turkish drummers drum in the streets during Ramadan just before Sahoor to remind people to eat Sahoor and pray. They wear traditional clothing, including a fez, and sing in the streets as well, knocking on people’s doors twice in Ramadan, asking for “bahşiş” or tips to be given. Turkish baklavas and cookies are go to food for iftar. These can be found in various markets across the country. Ramadan can be a great time to visit Istanbul, a major city in Turkey, where there is a lively atmosphere each evening and crowds gather in Sultanahmet Square for Iftar.
Ramadan in Pakistan have a unique tradition. Iftar meal includes a traditional rose flavored drink called Rooh afza followed by fried savories such as samosas and pakoras. People give out iftars in the neighborhood spread on trays covered with bright clothes. During Ramadan, all major cities of the country turn into cities that never sleep, with people enjoying out and about after the Maghrib prayers. Everything in the country rearranges itself around Ramadan, including the restaurants, most of which remain open at the beginning and the end of each fast.
Ramadan in Egypt is celebrated with lots of bright colors. The streets in the country are decorated with beautiful lanterns called Fanous. The lanterns are beautifully painted and patterned. Iftar is usually held at the house of the family’s eldest member. Egypt is well known for the delicious iftar dish called “Khchaf” (a mix of dates, figs and many other fruits), stuffed vine leaves and a chicken and potatoes dish.
About the Author:
Beenish Mahmood is an Administrative professional with years of experience working with children with special needs. She also volunteers at Literacy South Halton tutoring adults with Down Syndrome and Learning Difficulties. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, travelling, and serving the community.