blessed month, as the Muslims around the world would love to call
it, is here once again. As the new moon pronounces the arrival of
Ramadan, Muslims, all of a sudden, adopt a totally new schedule.
Waking up at 03:00 pre-dawn to have suhur – the special
meal taken to begin the dawn-to-dusk fast, a nap for an hour or
so, then going for the day’s work without forgetting to finish
them all before late afternoon so as to have enough time for
Iftaar and then Traveeh, the special night prayers.
Everything which is associated with Ramadan is common across the
globe and is in full display in the Muslim neighbourhoods. What is
uncommon though is its cultural implication which changes colors
as we cross one country of the world to other.
In the Indian
sub continent, besides special prayers Ramadan brings with it the
festivities which are invisible through the year. The tradition of
naming the newly born by the names of months had vanished long
back. But in some parts of the sub continent, the practice still
persists and the babies born in this moth are named as ‘Ramzan’.
Asia, Ramadan is best experienced through the bazaars in cities
like Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. As Michael Aquino
puts in, “These bazaars are closed throughout the day, but come to
life late in the afternoon as bazaar food shops prepare food for
Muslims breaking their fast at sundown. The bazaars continue to
operate through the night, providing food and shopping for both
Muslims and non-Muslim visitors alike.”
countries like United States and Britain, people like the Bosnian
migrants in Utica in New York State and Asian migrants in Hamilton
would use the occasion to raise funds to build their new mosques.
At the same time, there are others who would use the month to
create social awareness among the masses, as those in the State of
Illinois, where the Muslims have passed a resolution June this
year to observe this Ramadan as a “Green Month” and as the month
of protecting the environment for all faith communities.
In the Arabian
Peninsula which is soaring at around 50 degrees this season,
Ramadan is totally different. Here in most of the countries,
besides the weekly off, people do not have holidays even on their
National Days. But Ramadan brings them some leisure time off their
hectic schedule. Ask the expatriates and they would say, “Missing
the family back home is tough. But it is really a fun during
Ramadan here”. The offices, factories and establishments are all
closed during the day and open in the evening for a brief while.
The most spectacular things to watch here are the malls and
markets which are open throughout the night with special Ramadan
packages and pricing. Next are the especially made-up restaurants
and the hotels where the families would throng pre-dawn to have
the Suhur after shopping.
countries too have their own style of celebrating Ramadan. Like in
Sudan, where people love to celebrate Ramadan with such a fanfare
that they prepare themselves to welcome it two months ahead of its
advent. Fikriya Aba Yazid says, “A remarkable habit in the
Sudanese villages during Ramadan is that people get together in
large numbers on the main streets for Iftaar, a group of the
elders stand at the cross-roads, often blocking them by placing
stones, to insistently invite passers-by to share the Iftaar.”
The show goes on for the entire month till the new moon once again
brings the Eid al Fitr.