Ramadan is considered as the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. Muslims fast from dawn to dusk in Ramadan and engage in the spiritual reflection of God. It is one of the most easily identifiable aspects of religion. Fasting is the avoidance of food and drink. Ramadan fasting is a special part of the Islamic faith. Also, it is considered as one of its five pillars. It is a time when rewards for fasting and worship are bountiful. Ramadan around the world is much more than fasting. It is a holy month ingrained in faith, culture and history. Throughout the world, Muslims celebrate this unique and special time by amazing and marvellous celebrations of their region that have passed through generations. Here are some traditions and celebrations of Ramadan around the world. Traditions of Ramadan around the world Usually, the beginning of the month is greeted with greetings such as "Ramadan Mubarak!" One of the distinguishing features of the month of Ramadan is nightly prayer in the mosque called “Taraweeh”. Ramadan nights tents are increasingly common in five-star hotels that offer luxury and expensive meals from sunset to sunrise. People like to celebrate this holy month by being together in some of these tents eating and listening to traditional music. Another feature of Ramadan is the evening television programs. Each country display some series, that are made especially for Ramadan. There are different ways to celebrate Ramadan around the world. Indonesia Muslims throughout Indonesia perform various rites to "purify" themselves the day before Ramadan. Many areas in Central and Eastern Java. It retains a tradition of cleansing called padusan which means "bathing" in the Javanese dialect, where the Javanese drown in the springs and soak their bodies from head to toe. Padusan is a testimony to the synthesis of religion and culture in Indonesia. Springs have deep spiritual significance in the Javanese culture and are an integral part of cleansing for the holy month. The practice is believed to have been published by Wally Sungu, a group of exalted priests who were the first missionaries to transmit Islamic teachings via Java. For years, it has been common practice for local elders and religious leaders to choose and designate sacred springs for padusan. Nowadays, many go to nearby lakes and pools or purify themselves in their homes. Morocco During the month of Ramadan, Moroccan neighbourhoods roam the streets by the Nafar. A city crier, wearing a traditional scarlet, slippers and a hat, representing the beginning of the dawn with a melody. Chosen by the inhabitants of the city because of his sincerity and sympathy, walking in the street while blowing a horn to awaken them for Suhoor. This tradition, which spread throughout the Middle East to Morocco, dates back to the seventh century when one of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) walked in the streets at dawn to sing the Muslims prayers. When the music of Nafar swept through the city, it was met with gratitude, thanks and official compensation from the community on the last night of Ramadan. Turkey Since the days of the Ottoman Empire, fasting people have awakened during the month of Ramadan to the sound of the drum which strikes early on the suhoor. Despite the passage of time (especially the invention of the alarm clock), still, more than 2000 drum musicians roam the streets of Turkey, uniting the community during the holy month. The medallions are decorated in traditional Ottoman costumes, including a fez and a jacket decorated with traditional motifs. While walking with the davul (Turkish drum with two heads), Ramadan drums rely on the generosity of the population to give them tips (some money) or even invite them to participate in the suhoor meal. This tip is usually collected twice in the holy month, with many donors believing that they will have a good fortune for their kindness. Recently, Turkish officials have presented a membership card to drum performers in order to instil a sense of pride for those who play and to encourage the young generation to keep this old tradition alive in a growing capital. Egypt In Egypt, a popular scene in Ramadan is a lantern called "fanoos", which is often centred on an iftar table and can be seen hanging in windows and balconies. Every year, Egyptians welcome Ramadan with colourful fanoos, the intricate lanterns that symbolize unity and joy throughout the holy month. Although this tradition is more cultural than religious, it has become strongly associated with the holy month of Ramadan, with spiritual significance. Today, fanoos are often incorporated into other local traditions. For example, during Ramadan, children walk in the streets with their fanoos, singing happily, asking for gifts and sweets. Arabian Gulf Countries In the Arabian Gulf, wealthy sheikhs hold councils “majlises” where they open their doors to people to spend the night eating some food or having some tea or coffee and also having an exciting conversation. Check this for more knowledge about traditions around the world: Tribal lifestyle: the life of the Tuareg Arab chronicles: The most famous Arab travellers in history Different cultures: Strange traditions around the world
Is traveling the world one of your dreams? If it is then you have a huge trait in common with these famous Arab travelers. Remember though that traveling the world back then was not by any means what it is now, these travelers had no airplanes to fly them from one destination to another, and no luxurious hotels to stay in. The journey was fraught with danger and excitement, and maybe that is why it was an adventure like nothing you can experience today. Let’s meet some of the most famous Arab travelers in history. Ibn Battuta Probably the most famous among all famous Arab travelers, Ibn Battuta started his extensive travels with the purpose of performing pilgrimage at the city of Mecca in 1325 before he was even 22 years old. He traveled the world and came back to die in his country around 1368-69. Born in Tangiers in 1304, Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta was a judge, a botanist, a geographer and most importantly, he was the greatest Arab traveler of all times. At the request of the Sultan Abu Inan, Ibn Battuta dictated his travel stories to an official at the court of the Sultan called Ibn Djozay. And that is how they have been saved through the years. Ibn Battuta's account of his travels, from Tangiers through over forty countries, has been translated to many languages and read by millions of people. Although he saw numerous ups and downs in his trips, working as a judge and an advisor to the sultan one day and being a fugitive with no more than the clothes on his back another day, his love for traveling and exploring never wavered. He didn’t settle when things were going great for him and he never gave up when they weren’t. If we can learn one thing from Ibn Battuta it would be to never give up on our true passion. Ibn Majid Shihab al-Din Ahmad ibn Majid al-Najdi was born in a sea-faring family in the early 1430s in a small town which is now in U.A.E., but was then a part of Oman. As he descended from a long line of navigators and scholars, he became interested in the sea at an early age. He was educated on the ways of the sea along with studying the Holy Quran; both subjects shaped his personality as a sailor and a writer. Ibn Majid was a navigator, a cartographer, an explorer, a writer and a poet. He wrote many books about marine science and navigation, and numerous poems. Dubbed 'The Lion of the Sea', many people believe that Ibn Majid was the guide that led Vasco da Gama to find his way from the east coast of Africa to India around the Cape of Good Hope. And many believe he was the real navigator on whom the stories of Sindbad are based. What is known for sure however is that he was a legendary seaman whose books helped shape many maps and are considered true navigation gems. The exact date of his death is not certain, but ibn Majid probably died in 1500 because that was the documented date of his last poem, he never wrote anything after that date. Ibn Hawqal Muhammad Abu Al Qasim Ibn Hawqal was born and raised in Iraq. Since his childhood, he was very much interested in reading about voyages, explorations, travelogues and itineraries, and learning about the life of distant tribes and nations. When he grew up, he decided to make a life out of learning about the world. He started his journey in 943 and visited numerous countries. He even had to travel on foot many times. The countries he visited include North Africa, Egypt, Syria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Iran, and finally Sicily where all traces of him were lost. The many travels of Ibn Hawqal are described in his renowned book entitled A Book of Routes and Realms. And even though he described all the countries he’s been to in detail, many historians don’t take his account as fact because of his love for humor and funny anecdotes. Whether his perception of the countries was accurate or not though does not negate the fact that he was one of the most famous Arab travelers. Ibn Jubair Born in Valencia, Ibn Jubair was a geographer, a traveller and a poet from al-Andalus. His travel journal describes the pilgrimage he made to Mecca from 1183 to 1185. He passed several cities on his way there and back. And he gives a detailed account of all of them. One of the most significant elements of his stories is that he clearly describes life in the cities that were formerly a part of Andalusia but has been conquered by Christian kings. He also describes Egypt under the leadership of Salah El Din. Maybe he did not travel in as many journeys as other famous Arab travelers but his journey was very important and enlightening indeed. Explore the Arab world: Tour packages to Bahrain Tour packages to Dubai Tour packages to Oman
They say that it’s a small world, but is it really? How much do we really know about the different cultures with all their strange traditions? People are so different in their way of life that what feels like a customary tradition to some seems like a bizarre notion to others. And remember that if you look for the deep meaning behind these strange traditions, you will probably find that they make weird sense, regardless of their eccentricity. So let’s take a look at some of the strange traditions around the world, and keep in mind that what may seem so weird to you feels totally normal to other cultures. And vice versa! Carrying the wife over burning coals, China Some tribes in China follow a strange tradition where the husband carries his wife and walks over burning coals. These tribes believe that this practice would help the wife have painless labor. And some believe that walking over burning coals prevents natural disasters. Some choose to do this as the husband and wife take their first step into their new home and some choose to do it when they know that the wife is pregnant. The husband usually does this barefoot with his wife on his back. Ouch, this tradition seems pretty painful! The baby jumping festival, Spain In a yearly festival locally called El Colacho in the Spanish village of Castrillo de Murcia, men dressed as yellow devils run and jump over babies. During this festival babies born in the previous year are placed in arranged rows of pillows spaced out down a public street. Then men dressed in bright yellow costumes, and weird masks begin to run down the street jumping over the rows of children like Olympic hurdlers. This tradition started in the early 1600s; the villagers believe that it keeps the devil away from these children. The babies are sprinkled with rose petals after the run. Breaking porcelain for good luck, Germany The German custom is called Polterabend. It is an informal party where the family and friends of soon to be wed couples gather to break porcelain items such as dinner wares and flower vases. The couples should then clear up the broken things. This tradition is believed to bring good luck to the new marriage. Or at least to show the couple the significance of hard work and unity, which are an integral part of any marriage. Cinnamon birthday party, Denmark If you are single in Denmark, it is customary for your friends and family to throw you a birthday celebration by covering you in cinnamon when you reach 25. Many believe that the tradition dates back to when spice salesmen would travel around and remain bachelors. These salesmen never settled in one place long enough to meet a suitable spouse. However, the Danish people probably kept the tradition because it provides them with a fun way to celebrate a significant birthday. Well, it’s all fun and games until you reach 30, then they exchange cinnamon with peppers. That doesn’t sound like fun! Travel packages to Scandinavia Bullet ant initiation, Brazil According to the Satere-Mawe Tribe from the Amazon rain forest, Brazil, a boy does not become a man unless he can withstand being stung by a swarm of Bullet Ants. This ant has the most painful sting among all insects; some even say the sting is just as excruciating as being shot by a bullet. The initiation ritual includes the boys sticking their hands in a glove full of bullet ants while they dance. Moreover, this tradition is not a one-time thing; the boy must go through this routine as many times as it takes for him not to cry during the process. The day he can endure this torture without shedding a single tear, is the day he becomes a real man. Saluting a magpie, England In England, seeing a solo magpie is thought to bring bad luck, however, the English people have come up with the perfect antidote for this prevailing bad luck: Salute the magpie! So if you come across someone walking alone and saying: “Good morning Mr. Magpie. How is your lady wife today?” don’t worry, they are not crazy or anything, just warding off sorrow and bad luck . Spreading a feast for monkeys, Thailand In honor and celebration of the huge numbers of macaques living in Lopburi, Thailand, a luxurious banquet is held every year. This annual buffet is to thank the monkeys for all the good luck they bring the area and the people living there. The Monkey Buffet Festival is enjoyed by many people, in fact, tourists flock to the town around the last Sunday of November to witness this spectacular event. The annual festival starts with an opening ceremony including elaborate performances by dancers wearing monkey costumes. When the guests of honor, aka the monkeys, arrive, the sheets covering the banquet tables are removed to reveal decorative spreads of fruits and vegetables. Watching the macaques jump across the tables and climb the huge pyramids of vegetables and fruits, around two tons of offerings every year, is certainly fun. Nonetheless, spreading a feast for monkeys is definitely one of the top strange traditions around the world. Tour packages in Thailand For more about interesting cultures and strange traditions see also: Tribal lifestyle: the life of the Tuareg Peculiar cultures: Weird tribes around the world Extreme tourist destinations: The Edge of The World
Tribal lifestyle has always been fascinating for people living in urban locations. The life of Sahara nomads such as the Tuareg tribe for instance is much different than the life of city people in many regards. How does this tribal lifestyle look like then? How does the Tuareg, or the Sahara nomads live? Early travelers stories often referred to them as the Blue Men of the Sahara Desert, the Tuareg men are known for veiling their faces with an indigo cloth. And sadly, that is the extent of many people’s knowledge about the Tuareg. So let’s dive in the tribal lifestyle here and learn more about the life of the nomads of the Sahara. Who are the Tuareg The Tuareg are a substantial ethnic population that crosses the boundaries of several countries, but have no majority of inhabitants in any specific country. The Tuareg call themselves Imohag, which means free man. The language of the Tuareg is called Tamacheq, but Tuareg also use a written script known as Tifinagh. They lead a semi-nomadic life across the Sahara Desert, in the North African countries of Mali, Niger, Libya, Algeria and Chad. Semi-nomadic means that they traveled a lot but they also had homes and lands in which they grew some crops. In the old days, Tuareg society was divided between those who tended the land and those who did not, plowing the land being the work of lower classes, while the upper classes worked in trading. However, that changed over time as trading was off the table. Early History Part of the Berber group of people, the Tuareg have lived in extreme living conditions in the heart of the Sahara for over a thousand years. The Tuareg first crossed roads with modern civilization at the beginning of the fourteenth century, when trade routes to the profitable salt, gold, and ivory markets between North Africa, Europe, and the Middle East sprang up across Tuareg territory. The Tuareg began to work in trading and utterly controlled these routs because of their extensive knowledge of the Sahara. After the establishment of nation-states in the region in the early 1960s, Governments started to impose restrictions on trade with neighboring countries in order to protect national economic interests. As a result, the Tuareg started to lose economic strength and political power. The legend of the veil The most famous aspect of the Tuareg men and the most mysterious one is the blue veil. Tuareg men begin wearing a veil at the age of 25. This blue veil conceals their entire face except their eyes. It is almost never removed, even in front of family members. It is commonly believed that men began wearing the veil to protect their faces from the Sahara sands. However why it has gained such significance is unknown. Tuareg marriage The men often write beautiful poems and try to gain the women’s affection in many ways. That is largely because the end decision rests with the women themselves. When the woman finally says yes they start preparing for the wedding, which is an elaborate week-long event. When a woman gets married, her female family members usually give her a tent as a dowry. The bride often keeps that tent during her lifetime. The Tuareg believe that the house belongs to the woman. The woman also owns the family’s livestock. That might be because the men travel a lot. And because they travel a lot, men highly value their camels and swords, they consider them their most valuable positions. Tribal Lifestyle Tuareg mostly live in tents. They make these tent-like homes by setting up wooden posts and then covering the posts with cloth or fabric. And to help cool down these houses and to keep the desert sand from getting inside, they put straw mats on the inside of the cloth walls. The Tuareg believe in educating all the members of their tribe. All the little kids are taught how to read and also taught the teachings of the Quran. Tuareg Tribe is one of the few matrilineal tribes around the world; this means that family lines are traced through women rather than men. One of the significant sources of income for the Tuareg is selling their art and handcrafts. This art is mostly in the form of jewelry, leather and metal saddle decorations, as well as beautifully crafted swords. Tuareg Food The Tuareg do not eat meat often. They are not vegetarians, it is just that livestock is too precious. They only eat meat on special occasions like festivals and weddings. They substitute it with eating a lot of non-meat protein, such as milk and cheese. Their diet features a lot of dates and melon as well. Sometimes on special occasions they consume a nice beverage called eghajira, which is created by pounded millet, dates and cheese mixed water.
Ootlah is a home for stories that aren’t being told – stories that connect, bridge, and go deeper into worlds beyond our own.
The lifestyle of natives and the unique heritage and traditions of different countries