Once the new moon is cited at the beginning of the lunar month of the Islamic calendar, Muslim worldwide will start fasting which is a custom that abstains themselves from food and beverages as well as religiously trying to cultivate excellent habits during the whole month. Amidst all the deprivations and adversities, there is still an immense of pleasure within each Muslim soul in Ramadan celebration. It is safe to say that it can be finely complemented in the mood of celebrating the holy month itself. In this article, we will take a look at five different countries and explore the authenticity of how they celebrate Ramadan.
Ramadan celebration in Thailand
During the first day of Ramadan, usually each Thai Muslim family, even the unprivileged families are keen on slaughtering in remembrance of the coming of the blessed month. Practised for many years, this is a Thai habit and has been ongoing up until recent years. Another practice during the beautiful month of Ramadan is that they would have their Iftar or break of fast meal in groups. This indicates good treatment and sincere love. They usually have large amounts of fruits during this month and this is also the month whereby overseas workers or students who are abroad would usually come home to spend the month of Ramadan with their loved ones.
Ramadan celebration in Egypt
In Egypt, one of the religious customs during the holy month of Ramadan is having a person with a role of waking people up to have their Suhoor, which is the meal that Muslims take before dawn in order to sustain a whole day of challenging fast. The “Mesaharaty” walks through the city and make stops in each street while beating his drum and reciting chants. In some small communities and villages, the “Mesaharaty” usually stands in front of each crib and he will call out the homeowners by name until they are awake. But as the years have passed, this unique tradition is slowly fading replaced by the current technologies, like the alarm clock.
Ramadan, in Egypt, is intended to guide and teach the Muslim community the virtues of tolerance and devoutness. During the Ramadan, the community will also be in a celebratory mood as the streets would be decorated with lanterns made of coloured glass and tin called the “Fanous” Ramadan. According to some, this tradition dates back to the Pharaoh times and some suggest it commenced in the “Fatimid” era. There were even beliefs which suggest that women were not allowed to leave their houses except during the holy month of Ramadan. How true is that? Perhaps we can do more research on this particular info.
Ramadan celebration in Sri Lanka
Being a multi-ethnic country, Sri Lanka only possesses about less than 10% of Muslims out of the total population. The same in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Muslim would fast for 30 days and practice Ramadan traditions thoroughly. They commonly break the fast by consuming dates and water with their loved ones. Some hotels and restaurants take great advantage of the fasting month by preparing special meals for Muslim customers. For the Sri Lankan, Ramadan is all about spiritual enhancement complemented with calming ambience contradicting the hectic routine life of the rest of the year. Thus, Ramadan is eagerly awaited by all Muslims in Sri Lanka.
Ramadan celebration in Pakistan
Usually, in Pakistan, the Ramadan will be started off with Sehri/Suhoor. What is served in Sehri? The meal will include an omelette with wheat flatbread and yoghurt. This will be complemented with either milk, tea or Lassi. Before Sehri, there would be drummers who will make rounds in the city to wake everyone up. The traditional food for Iftar will be Samosas, Pakoras, Katchoris, Dehi Bhallas and Fruit Chaat. In Pakistan, however, they would prefer to first break the fast with a sip of water and dates followed up by the scrumptious traditional dishes. At times, a get together will occur after Iftar as in Pakistan, family and friends gatherings are taken seriously during the month of Ramadan. In Pakistan, the core value of Ramadan is about sharing and laughter.
Ramadan celebration in Turkey
In Turkey, the Ramadan’s Iftar is usually served with hot traditional pitas, dates, meat and olives. In the Ottoman culture, a famous dessert is known as “güllaç”, which is normally will be served after the Iftar. The Ramadan Feast has an alternative name in Turkey, it is called the Sugar Feast (Şeker Bayramı). This is due to the fact that homeowners treat their guests to traditional, delicious and sweet desserts. The kids in Turkey would also go door-to-door kissing hands of the adults to show respect and by doing that they will be receiving sweets and tiny amounts of money too.
There is a popular activity during the Ramadan too which is the Turkish shadow play, namely the Karagöz and Hacivat. The children can watch these plays at fairs free of charge. For the Turkish, Ramadan is considered as the holiest month. Thus, it is a time for them to unite, integrate and do more charity.
Living as a Muslim, wherever you are, and the core of Ramadan celebration is the only one which is to get closer to the creator, Allah s.w.t. The different customs and traditions worldwide is just a symbol or way of a culture in a certain country welcoming and celebrating the holy month of Ramadan. We all can learn something from the diversity that is for sure. Hopefully, this list will help you to open your mind and be aware of the uniqueness of Islam worldwide. Happy fasting everyone!