The holy month of Ramadan is a forceful blend of faith, culture and history – something that is represented through Ramadan traditions around the world. Every year, Muslim communities around the world observe the principles of abstinence and celebrate centuries-old Ramadan traditions during this holy month.
Curious to know what Ramadan is like in different countries and cultures? Read on to gain insight into some of the most fascinating Ramadan traditions from around the world.
How do Muslims celebrate Ramadan around the world?
When it comes to the traditions of Ramadan, you can find some similarities in the way they are practiced around the world. While some concepts are similar, there are subtle differences in the rituals associated with Ramadan, depending on the community.
Some of these Ramadan practices have been kept alive for generations. These deep-rooted traditions and traditions of Ramadan present themselves as identifiable characteristics of various Muslim communities around the world.
Here’s a look at how some global traditions contribute to Ramadan celebrations in the Muslim world.
UAE haq al laila
Let’s first look at how Ramadan is celebrated in UAE, Haq Al Laila tops our list of Ramadan traditions around the world. This celebration of the arrival of the holy month of Ramadan begins on the eve of 15 Sha’ban, the Islamic month before Ramadan. The basic objective of Haq Al Laila is to spread awareness among people and children about the importance of Ramadan.
Over the years Haq Al Laila has become one of the most religiously practiced Ramadan traditions in the UAE. The children of the locality happily come out on the streets wearing clothes. They roam the area singing songs, collecting sweets and chanting “Atona Allah Yutikom, Bait Makkah Yudikum”, which means “Give us and Allah will reward you, and help you get to Mecca.”
Another interesting tradition is the firing of Ramadan cannons in the UAE, which marks the daily timing of Suhoor and Iftar.
Talking about the traditions of Ramadan in Kuwait, what we have described in Haq Al Laila is very similar to the Qurqiyan here. The difference is that this Ramadan tradition is actually celebrated in the month of Ramadan – not before. This festival lasts for three days.
Children wear traditional costumes and sing songs for the Ramadan celebration. There are separate songs for boys and girls. Children often improvise songs to include special words to personalize them for the person to whom they are singing. Children learn about fasting during this joyous practice of Ramadan and those who fast are rewarded with sweets.
For Indonesian Muslims, padusan is an act of purification. Among other Ramadan traditions in Indonesia, padusan is a purification ritual performed for the purification of the soul and body for fasting and prayer.
Before the start of Ramadan, Indonesian Muslims bathe and cleanse themselves in the natural pools around them. This deeply embedded cultural practice of padusana is believed to purifies the believer for the month of Ramadan.
When we talk about unique Ramadan traditions across the world, Nykar is one of them. This Indonesian Ramadan practice takes place before the holy month begins.
Javanese Muslims engage in nyekar – an act of honoring the departed members of their family. According to ancient Javanese beliefs, the month of Ramadan marks the beginning of a new life cycle and the end of the previous one.
The practice has been passed down for generations, with some rural populations offering worldly offerings to their deceased ancestors.
This is probably one of the most colorful and beautiful Ramadan traditions around the world. Fanas or Ramadan lanterns are unique, brightly colored lamps.
As part of Ramadan traditions in Egypt, streets, houses and neighborhoods are lit with these metal and glass lanterns. Known for its distinctive design and intricate craftsmanship, this fan has become a universal symbol of Ramadan.
Suhoor (pre-dawn meal) is essential if one wants to maintain a healthy lifestyle during Ramadan. Waking up the believers for Suhoor is of great importance in Islam. Almost all Muslim-majority countries of the world have some mechanism that helps believers to wake up for Suhoor.
In many Arab countries, including Egypt and Jordan, this Ramadan tradition is upheld by the Mesharati or “night-caller”. The job of Mesaharaty is to roam the neighborhood streets, calling people to wake up. This action is accompanied by a gentle beat of the drum.
Mesharati is usually a local, familiar with the families who live in the neighbourhood. The fact that these selfless people call different family names to wake them up makes it one of the most precious Ramadan traditions across the world.
Imagine you wake up in the middle of the night with a loud drum roll. The situation will excite many, but this is not the case in Turkey during Ramadan.
Turkish drummers in traditional garb with their davul (two-sided drum) strapped to their bodies, roam the streets of Turkey – drumming people wake up to suhoor.
They sing and drum through the neighborhood to wake up the people for a minor tip (bahsi). People often invite drummers to their homes to share suhoor food. Of all the Ramadan traditions in Turkey, this one stands out for celebrating the generosity and spirit of Ramadan.
Morocco Moroccan nafers
Similar to the Turkish drummers and the Egyptian Mesharati, it is the Moroccan nuffers who take on the responsibility of awakening the believers for Suhoor. Nafar, who wears the traditional gondora, a cap and a simple pair of slippers, walks around the neighborhood singing melodious prayers.
The sound of these prayers permeates the city, spreading an air of peace and gratitude as believers wake from their sleep and prepare for fasting. This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful Ramadan traditions in Morocco.
The townspeople usually choose the most sensitive and honest people in the community as the nuffers to perform this honorable task. On the last night of Ramadan, these people are officially compensated for perpetuating this long-standing Ramadan tradition in Morocco.
While waking up for suhoor is very important, there is no harm in having light-hearted fun during the month of Ramadan. Even in Dubai, there are a lot of Ramadan events and activities that people can enjoy even during fasting. The most celebrated of all Ramadan traditions in Iraq is the game of Mahbub.
Every day after breaking the fast at sunset, men in Iraq gather around the neighborhood for sports. There are two groups. Each group consists of about 40 to 250 players at a time. Teams take turns to hide a ring.
The game begins with the leader of a group passing the ring to one of his team members. These team members sit on the ground with clenched fists in their laps. The other team has to guess which member has the ring. This game of deceit is simple yet interesting and has been played in Iraq for generations.
Lebanon Firing Cannon for Iftar (Midfa Al Iftar)
This is probably one of the oldest surviving Ramadan traditions around the world. Many countries in the Middle East, including Lebanon, still practice Midfa al-Iftar today – some 200 years after it began. Midfa al-Iftar was not always a part of Ramadan traditions in Lebanon.
This tradition of Ramadan is said to have originated in Egypt. Once during the month of Ramzan, the then ruler Khosh Kadam accidentally fired a cannon at sunset. Its sound reverberated through the city of Cairo and people understood it as a sign of the end of the fast. The act was widely appreciated by the people and eventually made it a tradition.
Many Middle Eastern countries adopt Midfa al-Iftar as the official signal to announce the end of the day’s fast. Lebanon has special 19th-century Midfa al-Iftar canons, which are used today for exactly this purpose.
Bangladesh, India and Pakistan moon night
On the last eve of Ramadan, known as “Chand Raat” (moon night), the streets of South Asia come alive with festivities. It is the eve before Eid ul Fitr. According to the traditions of Ramadan in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, friends and family celebrate Chand Raat with the exchange of sweets and sweets.
People go out for shopping and entertainment at the last minute. It is a common spectacle in these countries to see girls and women flock to jewelery stores and make-shift henna stalls to pick up matching bangles and apply henna on their hands.
Henna application remains a long standing Ramadan tradition in South Asian countries such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh till date. The local markets are full of Eid fervor and all this collectively adds to the community spirit.
you would also like to know
Which festival is celebrated after Ramadan?
Eid al-Fitr is the festival that occurs immediately after Ramadan on the Islamic calendar.
What is the proper greeting for Ramadan?
For the month of Ramadan, greetings can be exchanged by saying Ramzan Kareem or Ramzan Mubarak (Happy Ramadan).
What does “Ramadan Kareem” mean?
The most commonly used greeting for the holy month of Ramadan is Ramadan Kareem. The translation of the greeting is “Have a blessed Ramadan.”
What is the answer to “Ramadan Kareem”?
The most appropriate response to “Ramadan Kareem” is “Allahu Akram”, which roughly translates to “God is all the more generous”. Many people are not familiar with this response and so they resort to “Ramadan Mubarak” or “Ramadan Kareem” to respond to the greeting.
Do offices in UAE have special Ramadan timings?
Yes, offices in the UAE have reduced working hours during Ramadan. Keep in mind that Ramadan 2022 working hours in the UAE are different for the public and private sectors.
How long does Ramadan last?
Ramadan can be 29 or 30 days long depending on the sighting of the moon. The start and end dates of the month vary accordingly. Ramadan 2022 is expected to start from 2nd April and end on 1st April or 2nd April.
If you are currently in Dubai, do not miss to check out the best places for Suhoor there. For those of you who love to eat out during Ramadan, there are a slew of restaurants in Dubai offering iftar deals.
Keep our guide on Ramadan prayer timings for 2022 so you don’t miss out on your worship.
That’s the end of this post on Ramadan traditions around the world. We hope that you have found the information useful and informative.
Do you have any Ramadan traditions of your own? Share them with us in the comments below. We would love to know about all your family traditions for Ramadan.