Features of Ramadhan in Aden [Archives:2001/50/Culture]

December 10 2001

Mohammed Saeed Al-Mekhlafi
This great city, Aden, has come again and haunted our memories; it is embossed with its specialties. Smile is clearly marked on its lips, standing vigorously and stretching its hands in order to clutch Shamsan Mountain, which seems at first sight as if it were a guard protecting it. This city, together with its humble people, celebrates the approach of the holy month in which Holy Qur’an was descended upon the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him). It is said that the doors of paradise are open during this month; Satan is chained and hell’s doors are closed. The first ten days of this month are for mercy, its middle days are forgiveness and the last ten days are of hell.
Here in Aden the people chant and sing in praise of God during the approach of the holy month. We see children, on the other hand, playing with firecrackers, which signifies their great joy. People of different classes, the rich and poor alike, prepare themselves spiritually, religiously and materially and go shopping to buy their needs for this honorable guest.
In this city, food is variegated. During the dusk prayer, the time when fasting ends, people have special food to eat, such as dates, coffee, and some fried foods. After the dusk prayer, people have different kinds of food, such as shafoot (soaked bread with yogurt), marjoram, mashed soup and different kinds of drinks, such as mango juice and lemonade. Then they rest until the night prayer and taraweeh prayers, after which they have their supper. Supper in itself is rich in its nourishing value. Then they have some sweets and pancakes.
At the same time we find the mosques swarming with people to perform the five prayers and praising God by day and night seeking His forgiveness without monotony. We find them together at one dining table, at which poor and rich people are equals receiving a new day and bidding farewell to another day.
In conclusion, this month is not the month of allocating different kinds of delicious meals, nor is it customary for the majority of people to sleep and watch satellite television for long hours. It is the month of worship and gaining God’s favor. It is the month in which there is a day which is better and of greater significance than one thousand months, it is called Al-Kadr Night. May God respond to our fasting! Amen! Amen!