The month of Ramadan, the ninth month according to the Hijri or lunar calendar, is paramount for the Islamic world. This month, in which the verses of the Quran began to be revealed, is considered the month of patience, worship and fertility for the Islamic world. During this month, Muslims fast for a month, perform Tarawih prayers and increase their worship. At the end of the month, they celebrate Eid al-Fitr, also known as Ramadan Bayram.
In the Islamic world, the month of Ramadan is reported to be better than a thousand months in the Quran and is considered the "sultan of 11 months."
In societies with Islamic belief, meals are eaten by getting up for suhur before starting the daily fast, and fasting is observed by not eating or drinking anything until the sun sets. The devote complete their final preparations and celebrate the "Eid al-Fitr" with great enthusiasm the next day.
According to Islamic belief, fasting is never just about being hungry. The month of Ramadan has a quality that purifies the body and soul from sins, unites, reconciles, strengthens the bonds of brotherhood and love, and invigorates spiritual feelings.
Many spiritual feelings are remembered or learned through fasting, such as patience, understanding the plight of hungry and thirsty people, being grateful and knowing how to be content with little.
The Islamic world and Muslims also fulfill many traditions from the past in this particular month. Different Muslim communities in other parts of the world continue to maintain their unifying, pacifying and entertaining practices. Apart from common traditions such as fasting and worship, they perform rituals that differ from country to country.
This month, celebrated by more than 1.5 billion people worldwide simultaneously, Muslims living in different geographies keep their rituals, traditions and customs alive, leaving a rich cultural treasure for the future.
Ramadan drummers are among the essential customs practiced with the coming of Ramadan in Türkiye, many of which date back to the Ottoman Empire. Ramadan drummers still roam the streets during sahur, playing drums and singing mani. This is how people know that it's time for sahur. Ramadan drummers, who had an important place in the Ottoman Empire, would wander the streets wearing traditional clothes such as a fez and waistcoats. It is possible to come across drummers who still dress this way today. It has also become a part of this tradition to give tips to drummers wandering around the streets because Ramadan also means the month of helping each other.
Indonesia, one of the most populated Muslim countries in the world, definitely has unique traditions regarding the month of Ramadan. One of the most important of these is a tradition they call "Padusan," which means to bathe. Muslims gather in lakes and rivers and bathe from head to toe in this purification ritual that they perform the day before the start of Ramadan. They prepare for the month of Ramadan with this ritual, which they believe cleanses the body and soul before starting their fasting and prayers.
Another tradition in Indonesia emerged from a belief that Ramadan is the beginning of a new life cycle. In this tradition, which they call "Nyekar," they pray for those no longer living.
Apart from these, the tradition of playing instruments in the streets is also continued in Indonesia, similar to the practice of Ramadan drummers in Türkiye, to inform people of the time of suhur and to wake people up.
One of the customs spread from the Middle East to Morocco is "nafar." A nafar's duty, which you can compare to the Ramadan drummer in Türkiye, is to wake up the people for sahur. A person who is honest and has the people's sympathy is chosen as a nafar, and he wears the traditional clothes of Morocco and alerts the people about the time for sahur with a wind instrument and prayers. It is said that the history of this tradition in Morocco dates back to the seventh century.
Unlike most places in Morocco, they break their fast with not a meal but dessert first. Afterward, they continue their iftar meal with hot lentils or tomato soup.
Muslims from all over South Africa gather in Cape Town at the end of Ramadan, which comes with the sighting of the moon's first crescent. They attend events prepared to search for the new moon. In this event, the crowds gathered on the city's hills wait for the new moon to rise together with the moon watchers called "Maan Kyker." After the official announcement of the birth of the new moon in Maan Kykeler, the holiday celebrations begin.
In many countries, traditional dishes that decorate the iftar and suhur tables are prepared specially for Ramadan. For example, in India, pasta called vermicelli is especially hung and dried for annual consumption during Ramadan. They also often break their fast with a meal called "halim." While special traditional meals are prepared for iftar and sahur tables in all Muslim countries during Ramadan, religious and cultural traditions remain today. Celebrations and festivities during Ramadan are crowned with the enthusiasm of the holiday celebrated at the end of the month.
During the month of Ramadan, which is a month when Muslims often perform their prayers in groups, the importance of helping and sharing is emphasized once again, and people are renewed spiritually and physically. Therefore, the month of Ramadan continues to be greeted with great joy in different geographies every year.