Ramadan in Taiz [Archives:2001/47/Last Page]
Ramadan in the city of Taiz may not greatly differ from that of Sana’a, Riyadh, Cairo, Damascus, Tehran or Jakarta, as the people of all these cities share a common denominator in observing the month of Ramadan. However, Ramadan in Taiz has a special flavor that distinguishes it from the other cities of Yemen, due to certain natural characteristics. One day before the fall of Ramadan, everyone you meet warmly greets you with “Ramadan mubarak,” while children have their own words announcing the arrival of the month of Ramadan, saying, “Welcome the month of fasting.” For the most part, all people duly observe the rituals of the holy month of Ramadan in ways that show the fear of and obedience to the Almighty God. During daylight, one could notice the quietness that prevails in the city as streets become semi-deserted. In contrast, at nighttime the markets become very crowded as people go to shop and to meet their friends. Only one thing disrupts the tranquillity of this month – qat markets – as many people go to purchase qat before sunset or after breaking the fast. Reciting the Quran is one of the most visible characteristics of this month, as you see people sitting and reading verses of the Holy Quran. Indeed, many people could finish reading the Holy Quran twice or thrice during this month. At the time of breaking the fast, people sit and call on the Almighty God to accept their fasting and prayers as well as to make them succeed in their life.
Despite the availability of so many forms of media which are used for announcing the time of fast-breaking, such as radio and television, the fast-breaking cannon installed at al-Qahira Castle is still one of the most unique characteristics of Ramadan in Taiz. All people await the firing of the cannon, marking the end of day. Concerning the meals served at the fast-breaking time, most people usually have light dishes, but always starting with dates and after that “shafut” (small pieces of bread mixed with yogurt), which is one of the most special meals of Ramadan. After nighttime prayers most people begin having the main dishes which are very diverse. Meanwhile, nightlife becomes more lively as people go to meet their friends at cafes and others go to qat meetings.
Mosques in Ramadan are not merely for prayers, as they have become a place for learning the Holy Quran and the other religious sciences. Following nighttime prayer, many religious lectures are performed, which last until early morning. Ultimately, the holy month of Ramadan is a time of repentance to God; thus we all have to avail this chance to ask for God’s mercy through worship and obedience.