Ramadan Traditions Around the World

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection, and community. Qiratul Quran will give you an overview of some of the unique Ramadan traditions and customs celebrated by Muslims across different cultures globally.

Ramadan Traditions Around the World
Ramadan Traditions Around the World

Iftar to Break the Fast

One of the most important Ramadan rituals is iftar – the evening meal with which Muslims end their daily fast at sunset. This section explores iftar traditions around the world:

Lavish Buffet-Style Iftars in the Arabian Gulf

In Dubai and the other cities of the United Arab Emirates, iftar feasts are grand lavish affairs held in hotel ballrooms and giant tents erected just for Ramadan. Extravagant buffet spreads feature exclusive Iftar Song, Arabian delicacies, drinks, and desserts. It’s a unique cultural experience for tourists and locals alike.

Communal ‘Mesaharati’ Meals in Egypt

Towns and villages throughout Egypt have a long-standing Ramadan tradition where the beating of a drum awakens people before sunrise to have the ‘Mesaharati’ meal. Locals gather to share the pre-dawn suhoor meal in an act of sharing and community.

Iftars with a Desi Twist in Southeast Asia

Countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Brunei feature iftar and Hidang meals with a distinct blend of Arabian and South Asian flavors such as curries, rice dishes, and samosas alongside Ramadan staples like dates and fruit juices.

Cultural Delicacies and Sweets

Each culture also has unique Ramadan-special desserts and delicacies. Here are some examples:

Ftayer Date Pastries in Palestine

Fatayers are small folded triangular pastries stuffed with date fillings and are an iconic Palestinian Ramadan treat. Baklava pastries infused with rose water and pistachios are also popular across the Levant region.

Kunefe Cheese Desserts in Turkey

The Turks love their sweet and savory dishes. Kunefe is one such iconic cheese-based Ramadan specialty – with Kadayif noodles and sweet melted cheese infused with rose-flavored syrup. Locals consume vast quantities of Turkish coffee during Ramadan.

South Asian Sweet Dishes

From Firni rice puddings flavored with cardamom and saffron in India and Pakistan to jalebi fried desserts in Bangladesh, Muslims across South Asia enjoy their share of divinely sweet dishes for Iftar during Ramadan.

Nightly Prayers and Reflection

Spiritual reflection is a core aspect of Ramadan for Muslims worldwide. Some traditions in this regard are:

Qiyam al Lail Night Prayers in Saudi Arabia

The Muslim holy cities of Makkah and Madinah see hundreds of thousands descend for Umrah during Ramadan. An electric atmosphere pervades the Grand Mosques every evening as Muslims observe the long night prayer sessions called Qiyam al Lail.

Khatm ul Quran Rituals in African Communities

Muslim communities like Nigeria, Senegal, and Ethiopia organize mass Quran recitations, with many Imams committing up to 60 Hafiz Quran to memory through their lives. Mosques light up each evening with such Quran Khatm traditions where the Book is completely recited over Ramadan.

As we can see, each Muslim culture and community celebrates the holy month of Ramadan in its distinct way. However, their collective traditions are all centered around deeper prayer, charity, and reflection.


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