The Famous Month of Ramadhan by Bridget, Tunisia

Its name is Ramadhane, its classification is holy, its values are sacred, and its memories last a lifetime. I am talking about the month during which all Muslims fast from dawn to sunset. If you have never heard of it nor been in a Muslim country during that time, let me use words to show you a little bit of what it is like, even though nothing can replace being physically present. I want you to use your imagination to feel the magical sensations. It is like Christmas, just with more food. For Muslims, Ramadhan is the month celebrating the first revelation of the Quran, during which even sinners stop making sins. We are asked to forgive, to help poor people more, to be good to one another, and just to try to act as well as we are supposed to. Even though these are already the values of Islam, during that month they are emphasised . Muslims know that during Ramadhan, God is thought to have captured all demons, so there is no more harm, and human beings are not really as tested, as when demons are present trying to tempt them to do bad. Because of this, things change. The atmosphere feels happier and just much more beautiful. You know that joy in lighting up the Christmas tree? We feel that every day during Ramadhan. Fasting is the hard part, though, it is certainly not easy to spend all of that time not eating or drinking, while you work or study. The kitchen before breaking the fast is very noisy, and you can guess why. Women and men, those who are talented in cooking, in general, show off their skills. All various kinds of food are prepared, from salty to sweet. Kids run up to the table to organise it as well as they can. All come together as one, the elderly and the young, to make things beautiful enough to eat. The traffic before the Azan is horrific, though.! People are rushing around to buy whatever is needed, because, at night, all shops are closed. The other beautiful part about Ramadhan is that families gather together most of the time. There are never fewer than six people around the table, even those who live abroad may come to visit their relatives during the month. It is a chance to be reunited again because no one works at night, and they can divide the cooking chores and preparations among other members of the family. It is usually a euphoric atmosphere. After we eat and regain our energy, it is the night time, the lovely “soirée” of Ramadhan. People are energetic after a long tiresome day, and they are excited to share their stories. Others might meet their friends or go out to have a coffee together, to chat, to exchange ideas. Then there are the Taraweeh prayers. Those, dear reader, give satisfaction and warmth to the heart. They are usually done in mosques with hundreds of people gathering all together as one body, they last longer than regular prayers. Night time is also perfect for reading the Quran, not just eating and talking, for Ramadhan has never been merely about food. It is also spiritual nutrition and comfort for others. During Ramadhan, all people must be equal, even the poorest, those on whom life has decided to be extra rough. When dawn is near, people are supposed to wake up to and have one last meal before fasting. Those who still haven’t gone to bed – who are most of us youth – are supposed to eat, as well. It is an obligation, in fact, for God said that each one must have that meal to provide him/her with enough energy to continue the day. Fasting is actually scientifically proven to ameliorate one’s immune system, memory, and health in general. Anyway, after the Fajr Azan, everyone goes to bed, and the day starts again around 8 am, energetically for the elderly, and sleepily for most youth.That routine, even though is tiring for some people has a particular pleasure and some of a different flavour than the other days. It continues for a month, and people feel sad when it is done, because when it is over, everyone goes back to their busy lives, with few family meetings gatherings. Daily stresses return. During Ramadhan, even the weather seems warmer; it feels as those breezes of spring which bring the goosebumps of anticipating something beautiful. The greatest part is concluding the month with ‘Aid El Ad’ha,’ in which we celebrate Joseph’s sacrifice. We go back to our normal lives, having met our faraway loved ones, healthier, and steadier blood pressure. We feel satisfied doing at least a minimum of prayers and Quran reading during that time. We are simply better versions of ourselves. Laughter and joy cling in our hearts, and memories of the time, whether of surprise, warmth, or optimism, remain sacred in our minds. It is a month of physical, mental, and spiritual purification. If I failed to transmit even a little bit of what Ramadhan feels like I advise you to arrange a trip during that time, to create a life-changing experience

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