Ramadan in Yemen Special Customs [Archives:2001/48/Culture]

November 26 2001


Saleh Abduhlbaqi
Yemen Times
Ramadan is a special holy month for Muslims and includes valuable concepts and practices. Its sacredness and delightfulness are bestowed with a virtuous atmosphere of sympathy and solidarity of people. It also makes people feel and see the suffering of the poor. Life changes almost completely. Night turns into day, as most of the people stay awake the whole night doing several things. Whatever they used to do during the day, they do at night during Ramadan. Although people suffer from fasting during the daytime, people are always happy in Ramadan.
Nights turn into a lively, joyful atmosphere with people going out. Some go to work, and some just enjoy their time. This seems to be almost identical in most of the Islamic countries. However, there are still some things that are unique to each country. In Yemen, we find some customs shared in almost all governorates of the Republic. Despite hardships which make the population suffer from their deplorable and hard living conditions, you can only see simple and innocent smiles on the people’s faces during this holy month.
During Ramadan, spirituality is personified by the fact that people stop eating. This is known as abstinence. It is one of the most favorable months, in which mercy and forgiveness prevails in the entire Islamic nation (Ummah). It is the month in which the true Muslim shows his self-restraint and forbearance. As it is customary for Yemenis to celebrate this holy month, people, vendors selling toys and local desserts gather next to any ancient mosque. In the mosque, people spend the night chanting psalms and verses, but this is limited to some governorates. In short, life is completely changed, as houses and mosques become like bee cells where people recite verses of the Holy Koran.