Life slows downRamadan’s habits and trials [Archives:2004/785/Community]

October 28 2004

Ramadhan in Yemen leads to a different scene on Yemeni streets. The nights silence turns at noon time, the noon's movement turns to nights. The movements in the streets and markets decreases and is about to be in-existent in the mornings and afternoons, but the life scenes regain gradually after the prayer in the afternoon.
The Yemeni towns streets witness heavy crowd in the last minutes before sunset's calling (breakfast adhan), because of the natives return from the trips that they perform outside the town and for purchasing qat.
During the last days of Ramadhan, the drop in commercial activity is also noticed. Commercial cheating in the markets also becomes clear. Spoiled grains no longer suitable for humans might be sold by some, along expired chickens, and even expired medicines.
Nontheless, people don't care to what is going on around them and they practice Ramadhan as best they can. Dining tables in Yemen, and in Sana'a in particular, are decorated by a number of sweets, most famous of which is the Turkish sweets called 'Rawani' and 'Qatateef' which are inherited by the Sana'anis from the Turkish folks during the ex-Turkish reign in Yemen. These Turkish sweets, as well, are inherited by the rest of Yemen people besides currant drinks and barley drinks too.
Ramadhan food in Yemen is distinguished than in the other Islamic countries despite the close similarity in Ramadhan sweets, as the Yemenis tend to cook light meals followed by fatty dishes.
Ramadhan's main two dishes which habitually exist during the month in the whole Yemen are al-shefoot and shurbah. The first is made up of sorghum layers called 'lehooh', and the other one is made up of half-grind wheat after mixing with milk and sugar or with meat soup, according to the tastes and possibilities. There are also the 'sulteh' known as a main dish in Sana'a, and 'al-aseedah', 'al-soosi', al-bajiah, al-ta'miah, and kufteh (kubab) are also popular dishes.
After taking supper, the people come out of their homes heading to the mosques for evening prayer. Some of them stay in the mosques for performing al-taraweeh prayer (self-relax prayer) whereas some others pray too singly or reciting the Qura'an.
Al-taraweeh prayer, in some mosques, is not performed collectively as the prevailing idea in the past used to interpret al-taraweeh prayer collectively as a new adoption which means forbidden in Islam. Thereafter, the citizens meet each other in chewing qat gathering which continues until earlier in morning times i.e. till some time before 4.00 o'clock a.m., during which as well the Yemenis ask each other about their conditions.
In Yemen, the Ramadhan scenes have its own habits. Banks, municipalities, and the general departments employees start their work after the admitted appointment in the normal days by two hours. Despite that, the life in the day time seems to freeze abnormally – as if it becomes night time – except the necessary simple movement that remains normally.
And in lieu of that, the night during Ramadhan, in Yemen, turns as day time with its full movement, shopping, and wandering in the streets too.
Most of the Yemenis spend their night in chewing qat which matter doubles, and in some cases, reach to triple the quantities consumed in the normal times. But, the negative sense realized out of Ramadhan that the activities of the state production establishments are deteriorating because many of the employees go on leave during this holly month!!