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Egypt during Ramadan

By : Dalia El Kady

Ramadan is the month during which Prophet Mohammed received the inspiration of Quran. The month of Ramadan moves ten days earlier each year. Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims, in which they don't eat or drink, starting from dawn. At sunset, they break their fasting usually with a date, since it is a "sunna", i.e. a habit taken from Prophet Mohammed.

Muslims celebrate that month with joy & happiness. They prepare for it by hanging up colored decorations in the streets & banners announcing that Ramadan is coming soon. They also hang up what Muslims call "Fanus", i.e. lanterns of different shapes & colors, some of which are lightened simply by candles, while others are electrical. At sunset the roads are usually empty, every one is hurrying home since all the family has to be ready at the dinning table before the canon shot - announcing the break of fasting - at least by 10 minutes, so that they start it as soon as they hear "Al Azan", i.e. call for prayer.

Since Egyptians are big eaters, they usually look forward to Ramadan ,for it is known for special sorts of desserts such as "Kunafa", "Kataief" & "Khushaf"(a cocktail consists mainly of dates apricot,black plums & raisins) , as well as a very delicious juice called "Kamar El Din" i.e. apricot juice. They also eat lots of almonds & nuts, which get too pricey during that month.

TV becomes over loaded with various shows, programs & serials during Ramadan, most of which are Islamic. One of the prominent programs that people used to watch during Ramadan is the quizzes, what Egyptians call "El Fawazir", it is one of Ramadan's features. Some people get really obsessed with TV during that month to the extent that they disregard their religious perceptions that should be performed during that holy month.

Ramadan in its very nature is a month of mercy & good deeds. It has very spiritual aspects, since a real fasting is not confined to keep from eating & drinking only, but also to abstain from committing sins that Islam prohibited. So, it's not only a matter of food, it is of actions as well. Hence, Muslims try to be more self-restrained & to get more control on their misbehaviors during Ramadan. They alms, prayers & reading Quran. They have to read the whole Quran Book at least once during that month.

Don't be astonished if I said that Christians like and enjoy Ramadan as well - of course not out of religious sense - motivated by the various sorts of food stuffs that Ramadan is distinguished by and that become available in the market only during Ramadan. They are also attracted by the way television celebrates it, since it transmits the best it has over the 24 hours of the day, which is not the case in usual time. They try not to hurt the feelings of Muslims during that month, they do not eat during daytime and even try to share fasting with them.

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