What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the holy month for Muslims which is celebrated worldwide. In this month, all Muslims fast every day, do the special prayer, in gathering in their community. Fasting is also one of the Five Pillars of Islam which is obliged to all Muslims.
Ramadan is also a celebration of culture, history, and faith. Each country has a unique tradition to celebrate Ramadan which passes through the generations. Let us know more about Ramadan, why and how people celebrate it across the globe.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It consists of 29 days and it is obliged for Muslims to fast, pray, do charity, and do other spiritual activities that vary from culture to culture. for example, lantern-lighting in Egypt or bathing rituals in Indonesia. The people celebrate Ramadan because there is an order revealed on Holy Koran, the holy book of Islam, to fast for a month in Ramadan. It is strongly stated by the Prophet Muhammad in AD 610.
More than just fasting, Muslims welcome Ramadan as a month for sharing, togetherness, and patience. The Muslims compete to do good things in Ramadan because it is said in the Koran that the reward will be doubled up. Besides, Muslims support each other for creating fun or relax atmosphere for a month’s fasting. This condition makes the tradition and interpretation of celebrating Ramadan are various in each area and country.
Various Spiritual Celebrations Across the World
1. Cannons Fire in Iftar (Lebanon)
Lebanon is in the Middle East where it common to have cannon fire in iftar (the end of the fasting day). It is called as ‘midfa al iftar’ and is begun more than 200 years ago in Egypt under the Ottoman ruler KhoshQadam. The history said that Qadam accidentally fired his cannon while testing it at sunset. People over Cairo then assumed that the massive sound is a sign of the end of the fast. HajaFatma, his daughter, then set this cannon fire as a tradition. Nowadays, the practice has been applied throughout the Middle East countries including Lebanon.
2. A Cleansing Ritual (Indonesia)
In Indonesia, the cleansing ritual is done in a day before Ramadan. Some cities in East and Central Java do the purifying tradition so-called ‘padusan’, which means ‘to bathe’. The Muslims in those areas soak themselves in springs from head to toe. Springs are chosen because they hold the deep and significant ritual of Javanese religion and culture. WaliSongo, the Muslims priests in Java, spread this tradition while teaching Islam throughout Java. In today’s practice, springs can be replaced by swimming pools or lake to do ‘padusan’. People can also do the cleansing at their own homes.
3. Town Criers Prayers at Dawn (Morocco)
The tradition is inspired by the habit of Prophet Muhammad who would walk down the street at dawn and sing melodious prayers to wake people for suhoor, a pre-dawn meal before fasting. In Morocco, it is done by the ‘nafar’, a town crier who wears a traditional attire namely ‘gandora’ with a hat and slippers. They walk around the neighborhood with his melody by blowing a horn. The ‘nafar’ should be an empath and honest person chosen by the people in town.
4. Colorful Lanterns (Egypt)
The colorful lanterns are called ‘fanous’. They are lighted to welcome Ramadan to symbolize joy and unity throughout the holy month. The tradition looks more cultural than spiritual. Originally, the lantern was used for illuminating the entrance for the imam in the Fatimid dynasty. The lantern was made from candles and wooden shelters. The wooden shelters are now replaced into patterned lanterns, which are displayed all over the country during Ramadan.
What a beautiful celebration they are. You can fly to those countries in Ramadan to feel the experience of the real celebration. Grab the tickets soon on the Airpaz website and schedule from now. There are a lot of promos you can enjoy as well. Ramadan in other countries might be challenging and more fun. Stay in religious and spiritual activities and have fun in doing them.