Every country has its own food, culture and traditions so it's no joke that Ramadan is celebrated differently in every country. From Asia to the Middle East, get ready to discover some fascinating and unique traditions of Ramadan from all around the world! Let's take a closer look at 10 exciting and intriguing Ramadan traditions that vary from region to region.
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1. Drumming for Sahur in Egypt and Turkey
In Egypt and Turkey, it's traditional to help wake people up for sahur! Children and youths of various ages will roam the streets in the early hours of the morning, playing their drums and announcing the start of sahur. Countries like Singapore and Malaysia also used to practice this during the kampong days! What a lively way to begin your day. ?
2. Open-air iftar markets in Bangladesh
When in Bangladesh, you'll find the delicious smell of street food wafting around in the air once its closer to iftar time! The city's open-air iftar market draws thousands out of their homes to visit and purchase local delicacies and dishes for their break fast. The busy markets are a sight to behold as you'll get to see traditional food and snacks being prepared right by your very eyes.
3. Mass iftar at Imam Reza's (AS) Shrine in Iran
Credit: Mohsen Esmaeilzadeh
Historical evidence has revealed that numerous ceremonies have been held at the holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS) throughout the Safavid, Afsharid, and Qajar eras in celebration of various religious occasions, including Ramadan. For over 332 years, this area in Mashhad, Iran has hosted mass Iftar serving over 12,000 people every day throughout the entire Ramadan period, making it the world's largest mass iftar!
4. Reciting religious poetry in Maldives
Everyone knows that Maldives is beautiful at every time of year but it becomes especially beautiful during the month of Ramadan!, and there's a unique and special way that it's celebrated. Enter "raivaru," a form of religious poetry that is exclusive to the Maldives! It is an ancient form of poetry with distinct rhythm and line patterns. Many Maldivian Muslims see this as a special tradition during Ramadan as it is recited in worship.
5. Performing cleansing rituals in Indonesia
In the Indonesian tradition of Padusan, which means "to bathe," Muslims do various rites to "cleanse" oneself the day before Ramadan. The earliest missionaries to convey Islamic teachings through Java were Wali Songo (revered saints of Islam in Indonesia). They are thought to have been the ones to introduce the Padusan custom first!
6. Firing canons in Syria
This custom, known as Midfa al Iftar, is thought to have started in Egypt more than 200 years ago, when Khosh Qadam, the Ottoman king, was in charge of the nation. At dusk, Qadam fired a new cannon by accident while testing it. In Cairo, the noise echoed throughout. Many citizens were led to believe that this was the new standard for indicating the end of the fast! Later, the custom was adopted by other nations including Syria and Lebanon.
7. Kheer in Pakistan
In Pakistan, kheer is a popular dessert during Ramadan. Kheer is a sweet rice pudding that is made with milk, sugar, and cardamom. It is often served after iftar, and what makes it so special is that many families have their own special recipe and variation of this dish!
8. Charity Tables in Morocco
In Morocco, it is customary to set up "charity tables" during Ramadan. These tables are placed outside homes and businesses and are filled with food and drink for those who are less fortunate. Anyone is welcome to take from the table, regardless of their background or beliefs!
9. Lantern lighting in Egypt
In Egypt, the 'fanous' is a traditional lantern that is lit during Ramadan. The lanterns are often made from tin or colored glass and are decorated with Islamic symbols and calligraphy. They are carried in processions or hung in windows as a symbol of the month's holiness.
10. Moon-Sighting in Malaysia
In Malaysia, the start and end of Ramadan are determined by the sighting of the new moon! This is done by a group of religious officials who observe the sky for the crescent moon. Once the new moon is sighted, it is announced to the public, and the start of Ramadan is officially declared.
Ramadan is a time of deep spiritual significance and communal celebration. These 10 interesting Ramadan traditions from around the world demonstrate the diversity and richness of Islamic culture, and they highlight the significance and importance of this holy month for Muslim regardless their race or nationality!