Ramadan All Over the World
Now that Ramadan has begun, different people have their own customs and their own way of spending the holy month. We found out more about the different Ramadan customs of many Islamic nations and how they vary; yet they are so much alike.
Philippines Corona is from the Philippines, where more than 7 million Muslims live, mostly on the southern island of Mindanao. Here is what she recalls about the Ramadan celebration in her hometown: "I come from Mindanao, where most of the Filipino Muslims live. Our families get together and we go to the mosque for a weekly lesson, usually on Fridays after prayers.
"We always have guests over or we are invited to someone's place during this month. Ramadan for us is about getting together and discussing issues about Islam with the kids. They enjoy it a lot because they get to see their cousins and friends. "We cook a lot of food during the month. Our main dishes -- fish and rice - are always favored in the Philippines in all seasons. When Ramadan ends, we do a seven-day visit to all the family members for Eid. First we visit the elders then the rest of the relatives."
India Zarina, from India, says: "The holy month of Ramadan in India is great. More than 15 percent of Indians are Muslims. Everybody enjoys it. For iftar (Breaking the fast), we usually have dates. We pray and then we have the main meal. This time of the year, you will always find sweet on the table. We cook it salty with minced meat or vegetables, or sweet with dates, dried fruits and milk.
"Mostly our daily routine remains the same - we go to work, kids go to school during the regular hours. We also sleep early and wake up to have ***suhur*** and pray Fajr prayers and go back to sleep. "On Eid, Indian Muslim women go for prayers together. Times are changing and the habits are changing, too. Girls like to go and join the prayers. Ramadan is one of the most memorable seasons of the year."
Egypt "The most famous thing about Ramadan in Cairo," says Magda from Egypt, "is the misaharaty. He's a man who in the past used to go around with his drum and a stick in his hand singing and trying to wake the people up to have their suhur and pray Fajr prayers.
"Personally, I think that was the most beautiful thing in Ramadan. Unfortunately this isn't happening any more. There is also the major sign of Ramadan - and that's the Fawaness -- the lamps which the little kids go around with in Ramadan.
Indonesia Rahman, an Indonesian, for her part says: "When it's Ramadan in Indonesia, everybody is busy cooking food. It's ironic and I don't understand why. But maybe it's the hunger when people fast.
"We cook this special sweet soup with bananas, coconuts and sugar. The prayers and the daily trip to the mosque are essential in Ramadan, for both women and men and for the kids. We get together and read hadith and the Quran.
"You always have to cook a lot of food. We enjoy this fasting month very much. During eid, we still have to cook because when people come to visit we not only offer them candy and sweets, but also rice and chicken."
Ramadan has a different taste and flavor that we enjoy and wait for from year to year.