10 Beautiful Ramadan Traditions From Around The World

  • SEEMA NANDE
  • UPDATED Jun 14, 2018
  • 129 Views

The holiest time for Muslims all over the world, Ramadan or Ramazan is essentially the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. The month is marked by various religious activities with fasting, also considered to be one of the five pillars of Islam, being the main point of the month. The month marks activities and traditions holding deep roots in faith, history and of course cultures in different parts of the world. As demanding as fasting for a month sounds, these Ramadan traditions around the world, sure add to the sprightliness of the festival. From holy baths, cannon firings, lighting lanterns, to games played on breaking fast, Ramadan indeed brings out the best of being!

1. Padusan in Indonesia

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Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

One of the most popular Ramadan traditions around the world, Padusan is essentially a purifying ritual observed in Indonesia. This ritual is timed just before Ramadan begins and involves the procedure of bathing in springs with the purpose of purification. Of the most prominent places in Indonesia, this ritual is best experienced and observed in Java’s eastern and central regions. The choice of bathing in springs further holds special significance owing to the religious importance Indonesians hold for springs. In recent times, however, springs to hold this process are not specifically chosen, unlike olden times. The closest rivers or lakes are resorted to for the same. 

2. Lighting on fanous in Egypt 

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Image Source: Flickr.com

Ramadan around the world brings with a lot of vibrance and Egypt justifies this in the best way. Lighting of fanous or lanterns is observed in Egypt as a practice to mark the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. Along with the light and vibrance what this festival brings with it is a plethora of delightful tales as to why the tradition was started. Of all, the most popular one remains to be that of welcoming the then Caliph of Cairo, Al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah as he reached Cairo on Ramadan’s first day. It was actually a military order for the locals to stand with lit candles for his welcome. 

3. Midfa Al Iftar in Lebanon

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Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Talking about Ramadan 2018 traditions, one cannot miss Lebanon’s very popular tradition of firing cannons. That’s right firing cannons, but for a really noble purpose of indicating the end of the fast for that day. This too has a very interesting tale attached to it. The tradition has apparently come into existence, by chance! It happened so that once Ottoman’s ruler Khoshqadam was testing new cannons during the sunset of an evening of Ramadan when he accidentally fired and people thought of it as a signal to begin their iftar. It was his daughter Haja Fatima who encouraged that this should become a tradition. 

4. Drummers in Turkey

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Image Source: Flickr.com

Waking up to the sounds of a drummer parading the streets is one of the Ramadan customs that people in Turkey are familiar with. The drummer goes around city’s alleys and roads waking up people to begin with preparations for suhoor. The way these drummers are dressed in particularly notable with traditional motifs adorning their attires. Most are presented with a bakshish, usually a monetary form of appreciation and sometimes even an invitation for joining the suhoor practice. To regulate this tradition, the government of Turkey has initiated licenses for drummers. This has further encouraged several youngsters to take up this age-old tradition. 

5. Haq Al Laila in the United Arab Emirates

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Image Source: Flickr.com

Taking place on the fifteenth day of the eight month of Islam, Sha’ban, the Haq Al Laila is what kids most look forward to. This is when children across cities of the UAE go around gathering sweets and treats, dressed in traditional attires. The Kharyta is the most important part of their attire, which is essentially a traditional tote bag in which the treats are collected. It is a beautiful sight to behold with children dressed in colourful attire, merrily singing songs holding relevance to this tradition. They also chant chantings that literally translate to “Give us and Allah will reward you and help you visit the House of Allah in Makkah”.

6. Mheibes in Iraq

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Image Source: Pixabay.com

If you thought Ramadan was all about food, prayers and maintaining sanctity you have got to know about the game called Mheibes! This is essentially a game that involves men from any number ranging from forty to two hundred and fifty. There are two teams in this game and it is usually played following the breaking of fast at night. It is denoted by the act of passing on a ring between a team, and the member of the opposition has to determine who may have the ring. This is an extremely engaging game, with players exhibiting some challenging body language signs in a bid to keep the opponent guessing! 

7. Adorning hands with henna in Pakistan

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Image Source: Flickr.com

Denoting the last iftar, women in Pakistan celebrate by adorning their hands with intricate mehndi designs. This tradition is quite big, so much so that there are henna stalls and night markets that are open all through the night. Not just hands, but even feet of women and girls feature beautiful henna designs. Shopping for colourful bangles is a part of this tradition too. Stalls at the markets are attractively decorated and you will usually find a henna stall and bangle stall situated just beside each other, to make the most of women and girls visiting either! 

8. Roadha Mas in the Maldives

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Image Source: Wikipedia.org

Roadha Mas is literally Ramadan in the Maldives. The beautiful tradition of Ramadan that pertains to this country is that of Raivaru and lots of food! Local specialties, absolutely one of its kind, are what mark the spirit of the month in the Maldives. Some of the most commonly found Ramadan delicacies in Maldive include fish cake or kulhi boakibaa, flour cake or foni boakiba and the scrumptious fish balls or gulha. Following iftar, seasonal poets present Raivaru to the masses. Evenings are used to indulge in leisure mostly comprising strolls, watching sunset and drives!

9. Staying up all night in Algeria

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Image Source: Flickr.com

A one of its kind tradition, people in Algeria spend the night staying awake! They stay awake and flock to local markets and streets to keep up with the enthusiasm of the festival. This is done, in order to done something unusual and subjective to the festive month. Shopping is one of the most undertaken activities at these night markets and streets among other activities that go on till suhoor. Owing to staying awake into the wee hours of the morning, the next day usually starts late, which too is a part of the tradition. 

10. Iftar fairs in India

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Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Finally the biggest of Ramadan customs all over the world, elaborate iftars! From Delhi’s Jama Masjid, Kolkata’s Bentinck Street, to Hyderabad’s Tolichowki, India is one of the best places to be to indulge in iftar fairs. Of all, the one at Jama Masjid is most popular for its fabulous spreads in its terrace. Everyone’s welcome here irrespective of their religion. This is also one of the biggest places in India where people gather to offer Ramadan prayers. It is a lifetime experience, to say the least!

With this list of Ramadan traditions around the world, you can well make the most of the on-going festival or gear up for the next year!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
SEEMA NANDE SEEMA NANDE

A deep-dyed Piscean, Seema is a dreamer. This extends to the fact that she is seldom in another world of her's or dreaming of the place she would rather be. A wild-child at heart and a keen observer otherwise, Seema's free-spirited psyche is eternally quenching for new experiences. There is no poison for her as restorative as Life, she is the one who will give you the cliched 'I-am-high-on-life', should you offer her a drink. She gets hungover on the feel of a new place, food and conversations with strangers! All this adding to the way she feels and writes!

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