Ah, Ramadan – the time of year we all know too well. We approach it with mixed emotions: fear, excitement and serenity, knowing that the holy month has a lot in store for us. And as much as different parts of Ramadan (like fasting) seem difficult, every year, you always end up hearing the same thing from many different people: “I’m actually super excited for Ramadan.” It’s a special time for Muslims, after all – a time to meditate, tolerate and then rejoice once the prayer to break your fast is called.
You know what these are – we know you do. You can usually find your mother, grandmother or auntie parked in front of the television, engrossed in a super dramatic daily soap opera with an extremely addictive plot – because one way to get through fasting is to watch people play fictional characters whose problems are way juicier than your own. Ramadramas, or as the rest of the region refers to them – musalsalat, are pretty popular throughout the Middle Eastern networks both year round and during Ramadan, so you could easily flip through to find one to get into. We do have to say, however – not out of bias, that some of the best Ramadramas are filmed in Kuwait and premiere on Kuwait TV. A hit from the Middle Eastern networks last year was Taht il Saytara (Under Control), and we’re more than looking forward to seeing what’s in store for us this year.
We don’t want to stray away from advising you to not overindulge during Ramadan, (which we still believe you shouldn’t and that your body would thank you) but a bit of indulgence is definitely allowed. We all know that every Nasser, Sheikha and Rashed’s secret favorite thing about Ramadan is the food, and we wholeheartedly agree! Every family has their Ramadan specialties they whip out daily for that one month – my family’s is my mother’s famous Ramadan fattouche with laban dressing— top that off with the requisite soup and Kraft cheese filled samboosas, along with heaping piles of your favorite home cooking and you have yourself a regular feast! And lest we forget, the dessert. Ramadan is the one month a year for many where regular dessert rituals are a requirement, and where you get to eat old friends like kunafa, luqmiyat, qatayef and many, many more. There’s nothing like a month-long reunion to catch up with some of your favorite treats.
This might prompt an eye-roll for some, but you can’t deny that getting together with your extended family and friends almost every day for a month is nice. Ramadan is a very social month that’s about sharing, and it brings out a very pleasant side in people. What better time to get close to your family, especially when it’s over great food and even better tea? And you can’t forget about the ghabqas and gatherings you get to have with your friends – and of course all of their mothers’ chances to show off their own home cooking to you. Thanks for the invite, khalty! Next time, at our house.
Working hours shaved off by at least 30 percent? Sold! No one really likes to get work done in a festive season, but alas, we must live. With the kiddies out of school (most of them, anyway) and reduced working hours from both private and public sectors, we get plenty of time, and a lot less traffic, to rest up and find the fuel we’re lacking by fasting. Also, post Iftar operations stay open longer, giving us more time to socialize and get things done. What’s not to love?
What better way to enjoy a holiday season than by seeing it through a child’s eyes? Seeing the excitement of children during Ramadan, namely on the 13th-15th nights of the month when Gergean takes place. Gergean is when children knock on your doors after iftar to collect candy and nuts, all while singing a cute little song and are dressed up in traditional garb. Really – what’s more adorable than that? It’s also the perfect way to teach kids about Ramadan, and to condition them to look forward to it every year. So don’t forget to stock up on the goodie bags and giveaways!
We sincerely hope that you enjoy your Ramadan 2016, and remember, that it really is the most blessed time of the year. While we enjoy everything that we listed above, we also know that the most important thing about Ramadan is the atmosphere: kindness, tolerance, and the peacefulness that surrounds the nation.
Ramadan Kareem and mubarak 3aleikom il’shahar – from all of us here at bazaar.