More than two billion Muslims around the world are celebrating the holy month of Ramadan.
Islam is the second-largest religion in the world. Muslims make up a majority of the population in 49 countries, and make up 25% of the world population, per Pew.
However, not every Muslim culture celebrates the holiday the same way. Breaking the daily fast in Istanbul might look quite different than doing so in Cairo or Jakarta. To celebrate the beautiful diversity of cultures, practices, and traditions that make up the Muslim experience of Ramadan, we’re sharing a few traditions from around the world.
Beautiful Ramadan Traditions Around the World
- Many Indonesian Muslims engage in a cleansing ritual called “Padusan” to mark the beginning of Ramadan – Padusan (meaning “to bathe” in Javanese dialect) is a purifying tradition where the Indonesian Muslims cleanse’ themselves before the holy month of Ramadan begins.
- “Seheriwalas” in Inida wake up worshippers for suhoor in an ancient Mughal tradition – The Seheriwalas walk the streets of the city in the early hours of the morning, chanting out the name of Allah and the Prophet, to serve as a wake-up call to Muslims for suhoor.
- ‘Moon Watchers’ mark Eid-al-Fitr in South Africa – Muslims from across South Africa head to events in Cape Town – South Africa’s so-called Mother City – to search for the new moon. But only the maan kykers, can declare an official sighting to inform the Muslim community that Eid-al-Fitr is upon them
- Men gather for games of Mhebes in Iraq – After breaking the fast, people in Iraq play Mhebes. This type of traditional colossal game involves 40 – 250 players.
- Children sing for sweets in the U.A.E – The tradition of haq al laila takes place the month before Ramadan. This day sees children roaming their neighborhoods dressed in bright clothing, collecting sweets and nuts in tote bags known as kharyta.
- Women come together on the eve of Eid in Pakistan – With the start of Eid-al-Fitr, so begins the Chaand Raat festivities. After their final iftar, droves of women and girls flock to the local bazaars to buy colorful bangles and to paint their hands and feet with intricate henna designs.
- Egyptians light colorful lanterns ‘fanous’ during Ramadan – Egypt is famous for its vibrant and sparkling lanterns that are lit during the evening and night, called “fanous“.
- Drummers announce suhoor in Turkey – More than 2,000 drummers still roam the streets of Turkey, uniting the local community during the holy month.
How are you celebrating Ramadan? How are your celebrating in your offices or communities?
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