Ramadan Around the World!

In Turkey, people break their fast at sunset with a meal (“Iftar”) which commonly includes a special freshly-baked flat bread  called “pide”. The atmosphere is carnival-like as the mosques are lit up and colored lights are strewn on trees and buildings. Booths in the streets sell religious books, treats and things for children. The mosques also fill up quicker than normal as people come to pray and listen to recitations of the Qur’an. In Lebanon, Egypt, as well as in Turkey, drummers go around town beating their drums and chanting Ramadan songs to wake people up for the early morning meal of “sahur”. With modern technology, though, this tradition is fading in the cities, but it still remains popular in the smaller towns and rural areas. In Egypt, the symbol of Ramadan is the “Fanoos Ramadan”, which is a brightly colored lantern. The lanterns are put up on balconies and in the streets. Children love them and they commonly carry them around and sing Ramadan songs. In Malaysia and Indonesia, the brightly colored festivities continue. In Indonesia, a carnival called “Dorderan” is held right before Ramadan for people to prepare for Ramadan. Additionally, the first three to five days of Ramadan is a holiday. Some schools even give the whole month off for students. In Malaysia, Eid ul-Fitr, the celebration after Ramadan, is known as Hari Raya. Muslims there celebrate this day by opening their homes to family and friends and serving lots of food. Guests bring a small gift of sweets or fruit. Even the king and queen and the prime minister and his wife have open houses for all who want to attend. In the United States, it is of course different for Muslims during Ramadan. As most are not Muslim, the same sense of celebration is only apparent in the Muslim communities, but it is not a widespread, public phenomenon. However, mosques in the United States perform a similar role as the ones in Muslim countries. In fact, many Muslims in the US go to mosques in the evenings for Iftar. Last night, President Obama himself offered Iftar to Muslim American leaders. Regardless of wherever Ramadan is celebrated, the most important thing for Muslims during this Holy month is to get closer to God through prayer. Additionally, family ties are strengthened and charity is emphasized, while fasting facilitates an awareness that God is provider of all things. Muslims are very much attuned to the fact that during Ramadan the rewards for their good deeds are multiplied 1,000 (and 30,000 times on the single, unspecified Night of Power). Dr. Osman Birgeoglu [caption id="attachment_2390" align="alignleft" width="660" caption="Ramadan in Jerusalem"][/caption]     Sources: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nb5ptAq7DrQ http://www.sensesofmalaysia.com/latest_article2.php http://faculty.ksu.edu.sa/aljarf/Activities/Nicenet%20posts%20-%20Ramadan%20in%20Islamic%20countries/Nicenet%20team%20post%20-%20Ramadan%20in%20Indonesia.pdf http://www.asharq-e.com/news.asp?section=7&id=10428 http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com/Religion/ramazan.html]]>

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