Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is a time to focus on spirituality, prayer, and charity. Ramadan is celebrated by Muslims around the world; however, it’s important to note that Ramadan customs vary depending upon culture and location.
Here we dive into why Ramadan is celebrated, and the Ramadan traditions around the world.
Ramadan is celebrated because it marks when Muhammad began to receive revelations from God through Jibril (Gabriel).
During Ramadan, many people refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours to focus on spirituality rather than physical nourishment. This is meant to remind Muslims of others who are less fortunate both during this month and year long.
We will discuss some of these variations as well as why Ramadan is celebrated in the first place. The core focus of Ramadan is a time to focus on spirituality, prayer, and charity.
How this is practiced changes Ramadan customs vary depending upon culture and location Ramadan is celebrated by Muslims around the world Why Ramadan is celebrated
Fasting and prayer is the most important part of the month and is equally observed by Muslims worldwide.
Fasting begins before sunrise and ends at sunset. During the day the normal prayers are observed.
One major change is that in the evenings of Ramadan a special prayer occurs.
This prayer is known as tahraweh. Tahraweh prayer happens between the 4th and 5th prayer of the day and includes the recitation of a portion of the Qu’ran.
Over the course of the month, the entire Qu’ran will have been recited. This can happen in the mosque or can be done at home.
Many Muslims aim to read the entire Qu’ran at least once during the month and this is an easy way to do it.
Another Ramadan tradition that does not change is the iftar meal.
This is the fast-breaking meal that happens after the 4th call to prayer.
What is eaten at this meal varies worldwide but in almost all cases, dates are served as the food to break the fast.
Before the fasting day begins, there is another meal known as suhoor that is eaten. This meal is meant to hold one over until the end of the fasting day.
There is no set food items that make up this meal though many people try to drink as much liquid as possible and also eat foods that will keep them full.
Muslims around the world place special focus on the final 10 days of the month. During this time the Night of Power is believed to occur, however it’s never exactly known which of the 10 days it will be.
This is considered to be the holiest night of Ramadan. During the last 10 days, people place even more focus on prayer and charity in hopes of gaining additional blessings.
The Ramadan tradition of Zakat al Fitr is the giving of food or gifts to family, friends, and those in need.
This gift symbolizes generosity during Ramadan to help bring good fortune for the coming year. In addition to this, it’s very typical to give food to the less needy or assist the less fortunate.
Ramadan customs vary depending upon culture and countries as well. Some of these traditions include the following.
Ramadan TV dramas are one of the more recent changes to Ramadan. These have nothing to do with religion itself, and they don’t even have a religious theme.
These dramatic TV shows run for the entire month and a similar to Spanish telenovelas.
Families gather to watch together each evening as the story unfolds.
Even though fasting during Ramadan occurs around the world, Ramadan festivities and food vary from country to country.
The following are just a few examples of how Ramadan is celebrated around the globe.
In some countries, the Ramadan cannon is fired every day at sunset to let people know that Ramadan is about to begin.
In some cases, a cannon blast also signals the time for iftar.
Ramadan Traditions in Iran
In Iran, Ramadan lamps are lit from dusk until dawn and can be seen on many homes in Tehran during the month.
The lamps originated from ancient Persia where oil was used as the lamp fuel. Ramadan is a time to visit family and friends during iftar (fast-breaking).
There are also many special Ramadan traditions such as reciting poetry about Ramadan.
Ramadan Traditions Turkey
In Turkey, Ramadan is celebrated with much fanfare and decorations everywhere you look.
Ramadan in Turkey features the special Ramadan sweet called Baklava, cookies called Hamama or Zalabiya (Turkish Delight), plus many more sweet treats served during Ramadan month.
Ramadan Traditions in United Arab Emirates
Haq al Laila is a tradition in the United Arab Emirates. This Ramadan tradition involves sending Ramadan snacks to friends and family.
Children go out to the streets singing and are given snacks and candies and the belief is those who give will be given extra blessings in Ramadan.
Ramadan Traditions in Morocco
While some countries have a focus on communal iftars, in Morocco, Ramadan tradition includes visiting family members or friends after breaking your Ramadan fast each day of Ramadan month.
It’s far more common to share iftar with your immediate family.
Ramadan Traditions in Malaysia
In Malaysia, Ramadan serves as an opportunity for family time with many people observing Ramadan traditions such as visiting relatives or hosting friends. Traditional Malaysian foods include bubur lambuk ayam, a coconut and rice porridge or ayam masak merah a red-cooked chicken.
Ramadan Traditions in Indonesia
In Indonesia, Ramadan is celebrated with the words “Selamat Berpuasa” (Happy Fasting). A ritual bath known as Padusan is a tradition here.
People take baths in natural bodies of water near where they live in order to purify themselves before Ramadan begins.
Ramadan Traditions in Senegal
In Senegal, Ramadan celebrations include decorating the mosques with lights and flowers. There is also the singing of special songs known as orotarios.
The Ndogou is a traditional community dinner served at the end of each day, arranged by volunteers.
The food is simple with things like tea, bread and dates. It is handed out freely to anyone who would like or need food.
Ramadan Traditions in Nigeria
In Nigeria, Ramadan traditional dishes include Yam porridge or akara (bean balls), Suya meat on skewers which are grilled by street vendors in the evenings, plus many more Ramadan dishes.
Many countries across Africa celebrate Ramadan with their own unique twist. For example, it’s common to eat at the Ramadan tents that are set up in cities.
Ramadan gatherings also include family, friends, and neighbors sharing a meal together along with watching Ramadan dramas on TV.
Everything to Know about Ramadan
Hopefully this post has given you some insight into the Ramadan traditions around the world.
As you can see there are a lot of similarities that exist across the Muslim world however each culture has its own additions to the holiday that make it special and set it apart!
For more information about Ramadan, make sure to check out our FACTS ABOUT RAMADAN post.