Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims which gives them an opportunity to come closer to Allah. Ramadan is also one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The other four pillars include faith, prayer, charity and a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. While the basic parameters are the same across the globe, some countries have a few customs of their own, which makes all the difference.
Being a country with the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia has some of the most unique customs for Ramadan. People clean graves of relatives and even hold colourful torch-lit street parades. In the conservative province of Aceh, families break their fast by eating meat together and sharing a meal with the poor, in a centuries-old tradition known as 'meugang'.
Different tribes and ethnic groups in Iran celebrate the holy month in different ways. People in the northern province of Mazandaran commence their fast three days before the beginning of Ramadan. They begin to fast from the last days of Sha’ban – the month before Ramadan – which is considered a meritorious month in Islam.
In the north-western province, on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan, women and girls gather together and sew a bag for their family. They put some money in this bag and keep it in a box until the next Ramadan. It is called Barkat Kisasi in the Azeri dialect and translates to a bag of blessing, which they believe will protect them from being poor.
Other than the main delicacies for their suhoor and iftar, locals in Turkey enjoy coffee and desserts. Turkey has come to be known for its Ramadan Festival or Sugar Feast, which can be a good way for tourists to explore the cultures associated with Ramadan in Turkey.
Iftar is usually held at the house of the family’s eldest member. Before the sun rises, children accompany a “Masaharati” to wake up the village’s inhabitants so they can eat before the fasting day begins. Egypt is renowned for the delicious dishes “Khchaf” (a mix of dates, figs and many other fruits), stuffed vine leaves and a chicken and potatoes dish.
Also Read: Ramadan 2021: Rituals, Prayers and Food
Ramadan festival is held in tents which makes this country stand apart. People from every nook and corner of the world throng the place to shop for Eid and enjoy the joyful atmosphere. Children enjoy special games too.
“Harira” is the special soup served to break the fast in Morocco. Drummers roam the streets in the early morning before the fast begins to wake people up.