The drummer boy wandering around the streets in the early morning, calling us as a reminder to eat before prayer time, leaving us all with the feeling that this is one big community celebrating every day together, for the 30 days right before Eid.
At night, we all share these feelings. When you see the lights and decorations for Ramadan, the cafés having Oud nights, making you live a real ‘Arabian Nights’ experience, with shisha in one hand and cards in the other.
What is so special about Ramadan is that it’s the time everybody gathers around the table for iftar, which includes a variety of mouth-watering foods. Then the gathering to watch the Ramadan TV shows, and everyone is confused about which one to start watching, for there are so many options made especially for Ramadan gatherings. Then we go out at night for shisha with friends, to watch our favorite TV show out at some café with others, leaving everyone with a ‘home-sweet-home’ feeling.
I remember summer 2010, when I went to Palestine and Ramadan started while I was still there. My cousins came from the U.S. and we all gathered around one big table during iftar time. It had a different feeling than a regular meal, as everyone around the table was telling different stories and sharing laughter and warm times.
That summer, my two cousins, my sister and I traveled to Jordan together for a few days, still during Ramadan, and we would all go hang out after iftar. We would go to Arabian tents and listen to Oud being played in this combination of old and modern music. But it was mostly singers singing old songs that make you feel alive. We enjoyed every bit of it, and after that we just walked around in the crowded streets where everyone is out, especially after Isha’a prayer. The crowded streets, the lighting and the special Ramadan decorations make you feel as if you’re living in a different era, and this is what we all look forward to.
When we got home, we gathered with the rest of the family and everyone was telling more stories, sharing more beautiful moments and there was non-stop laughter. Of course we were tired, but we couldn’t sleep. It felt like a waste of time, as we wanted to seize every moment of us being gathered together, each of us coming from a different country. Mainly we were waiting for drummer boy. He used to stop calling and playing his drums if he heard any of us or felt like we were watching him, so we would be at the balcony. When we heard him from afar we’d turn off the lights and hide so he wouldn’t see us, and we’d try our best not to laugh, so he wouldn’t hear us and stop calling and playing his drums, which gave us so much pleasure (and of course we secretly took a video).
One of the most beautiful feelings Ramadan creates is generosity. Ramadan Kareem, which means “generous Ramadan,” gives us all the feeling of being generous towards each other. Ramadan is all about acknowledging the poor, and in this month, you just give away everything you can to the poor around you. Not only to the poor but even to our neighbors. Once we start giving away from the meals being prepared, it turns into even more of a trading process. It’s like we give and take. It’s such a great feeling when everyone is sharing at the same time.
That’s the beauty of Ramadan: when you have your family with you, celebrating every single day of it like there is no tomorrow, even the prayers and the Qura’an readings become more important than ever. Ramadan Kareem.
By ABEER ALLAN