• Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Unique Ramadan Traditions from Around the World

Unique Ramadan Traditions from Around the World
Ramadan Lantern

SEAToday.com, Jakarta-Marhaban ya Ramadan, the holy month of forgiveness. During the holy month of Ramadan, all Muslims around the world are fasting, and competing to do various good deeds because the rewards are greater.  Along with Ramadan, there are also many unique traditions held by countries around the world.

From traditions to welcome the holy month, to traditions to mark the time of sahur and iftar, here are five of them:

1. Iftar Cannon, Lebanon

Midfa al Iftar is a tradition to fire a cannon to mark iftar or time to break the fast. It is said that this tradition originated in Egypt 200 years ago during the Ottoman rule of Khosh Qadam when they accidentally tested the cannon at sunset.

In 1983, the tradition almost disappeared, but was revived by the Lebanese army to this day. In recent years a number of Middle Eastern countries have also adopted this tradition, not only for Iftar, but also to signal the end of suhoor. 

2. Colorful Lanterns, Egypt

Beautiful lanterns in various colors can be seen adorning buildings in Egypt during Ramadan. These lanterns, also known as fanous, signify unity and joy during the holy month.

This tradition is believed to have started during the time of the Fatimid Caliphate, with various stories of its origins. One story mentions that he often went out on the night before Ramadan with his children. Another story mentions that on the first day of Ramadan, Cairo was visited by the Caliph Al-Muʿizz li-Dīn Allah. To welcome him, people were asked to hold candles in wooden frames to light up the dark streets. Over time the wooden frames became patterned and colorful lanterns.

3. Singing for Candy, United Arab Emirates

Haq al Laila is a unique tradition to welcome the month of Ramadan. It is performed by children dressed in traditional clothes and carrying colorful woven bags. They will sing and knock on the doors of houses in their neighborhood to ask for nuts and sweets or candies. It is similar to trick or treat during Halloween in western countries.

This celebration takes place after maghrib on the night of the 15th of Sha'ban. Children often believe that the louder they sing, the more sweets they will get. This celebration is specifically for children to welcome the joy of Ramadan, but oftentimes families also gather for dinner together.

4. Sahur drummers, Türkiye

Türkiye has a centuries-old tradition to wake people up for suhoor. This is usually done by the davulcu, a group of young men who beat davul or two-sided Turkish drum. Usually, the davulcu wear traditional Ottoman attire, and play folk songs or chant prayers.

This tradition dates back to Ottoman times when there were no loudspeakers or alarm systems. These young men depend on the generosity of the community to give them alms or invite them to suhoor together. 

5. Ring Guessing Game, Iraq

After breaking fast with their families, men in Iraq will gather to play mheibes together. The game is played by two groups with a total of 40-250 players. This tradition is believed to have been practiced since the 8th century.

The game is played by one group hiding a ring in one of its members' hands, while the other team tries to guess where the ring is. The game often ends with singing and dancing. The winning team is usually rewarded with a plate of baklava, which is eventually eaten by all players. (DANTI/DKD)

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