Different Aspects of Life During Ramadhan in Hodeidah [Archives:2001/49/Culture]

December 3 2001

Abduh Darweesh
On my own part, Ramadhan in Hodeidah has a special effect and a distinguished flavor in comparison with other Yemeni cities, except Hadhramout. It has been said that when Ramadhan approaches this city, people dedicate themselves to worship, fasting and praising God all the Holy month long. Despite the difficult conditions in the city, the people still possess different social and desirable customs, except some slight changes in modern life.
Spiritual feelings that proceed the Holy month
Regarding this topic, we met up with a citizen of the city, Abdulrahman Ahmed Al-Hassani, who provided us with information. He began by saying that before the approach of the Holy month, specifically two months before Ramadhan, mosques are repaired, rehabilitated and furnished; its minarets are also brightly decorated. Sine the approach of this month, loudspeakers are heard following the night prayer welcoming the Holy Month by petitioning and supplicating God for forgiveness. One of the remaining customs and rituals which still exists is that the people gather and have an open supper meal for the poor, particularly the last Friday of Shaban. Then, special rituals are performed, such as that of chanting and praising God’s name for the approach of the Holy month until the late hours of the same day. When these days come, the people have prepared themselves religiously and spiritually.
The Holy month’s preparations
With the approach of the Holy month, shopping centers and stores are opened in order to prepare for the people who need to buy necessary items for dinner and al-sahoor (the last light meal before daybreak during Ramadhan). People buy foodstuffs such as dates and grinding flour. There is also meat, which is the main ingredient for iftar meal, a meal which is eaten during or after the dusk prayer. The main foods eaten after iftar are fruit, nourishment and some sweets. The iftar meal is often composed of a few dates, soup, samosa, coffee and water. For dinner they have ‘shafoot,’ porridge, hulbah and soup. People usually have rwani for iftar, which is a cake made of flour and eggs which is covered with honey. The shopping centers are open to provide the people with their goods and to show new products and needs for this month.
When the first days of this month approach, the people get accustomed to its days. They go to work in the morning according to the working hours. Then, the people go shopping to buy food or homemade meals for iftar and super. Some people go to beaches to enjoy themselves, and some stay at home or go to mosque to recite the Holy Quran. During iftar people sometimes eat dates or drink drinks such as lemon. The dusk prayer is performed at mosques, together with the night prayer and al-taraweeh prayers. After that, the people go back home to have their supper. In this month meals are exchanged and distributed to the poor. In the evenings, some people go to work, some go to entertainment gatherings, some of them continue to solve puzzles, while others recite the Holy Quran until late hours. Then the people continue to wait for sahoor, and all of them go for the morning prayer and then to their beds. As the people welcome and receive the Holy month, they bid farewell to it.