Ramadan takes place in the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, and is right around the corner, starting next week. The predictions of the lunar Islamic calendar suggest that it will begin on the 29th June this year. Here are 10 traditions for you that you can enjoy during this time to experience the Ramadan spirit.
1. ☾ Religious and spiritual reflection
This month is a time of reflecting, religiously and spiritually. Find yourself and your connection to God. Sometimes it is necessary to take sometime to see yourself objectively and reflect on your actions and decisions. This is one of the key aspects of Ramadan, as the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was given the Qu’ran in Ramadan.
In Ramadan people fast between sunrise and sunset by not drinking or eating. They also restrain themselves from other things, such as smoking or other consumption related habits. If you haven’t done it before, you should try it! You will become more aware of your own strength, gain gratitude for the food you have and your body will detox.
3. ☾Decorating your home in the spirit of Ramadan
Some Muslims decorate their homes during Ramadan with beautifully simple and minimalistic decoration. Stars, crescent moons, lanterns and little lamps are used as they are symbolic for Islam. And doesn’t spending time with your friends or family to decorate your house sound like fun? It will definitely get you into the spirit of the Holy Month.
4. ☾Visiting family and friends
Ramadan is also a time you spend with your loved ones. Of course, you spend time with your family and friends normally as well, but during this time spend even more time with them! It will bring you closer and let you share this experience with your family and friends. And if they are out of physical reach, give them a call and let them know you think about them and love them.
5. ☾The Iftar
Sharing the Iftar is another lovely Qatari tradition where meals are prepared and shared with your neighbours. You should definitely invite your neighbours to share the Iftar with you or ask your friends to have an Iftar together. It is great bonding time, and again captures the Ramadan spirit of sharing and thinking of others.
6. ☾The Ramadan Canon
Once the sun has set and it is time to eat, a canon used to be shot into the water, to indicate that the fast has ended. The tradition is still alive in Qatar and you may experience it with your own eyes at the Corniche, near the General Post Office, or watch it on Qatar TV where it is broadcasted live. If you are fasting together with your family, wait for the Canon to be shot and then start eating. It can be an exciting tradition to share with your children, just like the countdown to midnight on New Years Eve.
7. ☾The Sufra
The Sufra in Qatar is breaking the fast after sunset with the whole extended family. Everyone will bring something they prepared at home to the grandfather’s house for everyone to eat. The Sufra will usually start with 3 dates and Laban to kick start your metabolism and hunger, and other dishes that are almost never missing are; Al Thareed (thin bread prepared with meat and vegetables and spices such as cinnamon), Al Harees (a meat and wheat meal), and Al Lugaimat (the Qatari flour sweets that are fried and covered in syrup).
So have a Sufra with the people closest to you and have everyone bring something delicious to eat.
8. ☾Al Ghabga
The Ghabga is the meal you have after midnight, where you can invite people for the Suhoor and your last meal before sunrise. If you enjoy the occasional midnight snack and decide to fast during the day light hours, why don’t you invite over some friends and have a lovely second dinner after midnight.
Garangao is a celebration for children in Qatar on the 14th day of Ramadan. Children can dress up in traditional clothing and go around the neighbourhood to sing Garangao themed songs. The kids are then rewarded with sweets and nuts. In Qatar there are many malls and parks where Garangao is celebrated. For example in the Ezdan Mall children can sing their songs in the different shops and collect their sweets, while in Aspire there are celebrations in the Magic tree garden from 9:30 onwards, and in Katara there will be many fun activities for kids where they can also learn about the origins. Garangao is definitely a tradition every child will love!
If you want to find out more check out this cool Garangao video we posted last year http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kfos7W4d6wI
10. ☾Zakat al-fitr
TheThe last day of Ramadan is dedicated to the less fortunate and we can all make Zakat al-fitr our new tradition this Ramadan. Zakat is charity that unites the rich and the poor in the festive time leading to the celebration of Eid al-fitr. Zakat doesn’t have to be money and come in the form of food. So if you can spare something, why not dedicate this day to giving something for a good cause.
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