When it comes to Ramadan, every country has its own unique traditions based on its culture and heritage, but one common tradition you will find all over Qatar and the rest of the Middle East is the use of colourful lanterns or ‘fanoos’ in Arabic. Often, these colourful lanterns will be seen adorning people’s homes, hanging in hotels and restaurants and all over the markets. They may just be there for decorative purposes and to give Ramadan a more festival feel, or they may be glowing with scented oils or candles giving off a beautiful scent in the surrounding air and emitting dazzling and colourful patterns on surrounding walls. They are easily available in different shapes and sizes, and sell very quickly, especially during Ramadan.
It is believed this tradition was started in Egypt more than a thousand years ago when lanterns were used by people to light their homes and the streets at night. One evening in 969 AD (358 Hijrah), on the the first day of the Holy Month of Ramadan, the Caliph Al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah came to Egypt. The military commander, Gawhar Al-Siqilli, commanded the people of Egypt to light the Caliph’s path with lanterns so he could see where he was going as he walked through the streets.
Since then, these lanterns have become a traditional and cultural symbol of Ramadan all over the Middle East and you will see them everywhere you go. Many Muslim expats have also taken up the tradition and decorate their houses with these lanterns and visitors to the country buy them as souvenirs to take back home.
What do you think of these lanterns? Do you have any? Do let us know what you think in our comments section. Don’t forget to like and share-it keeps us going!
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