WhispersRamadan in London [Archives:2005/885/Culture]

October 13 2005

By Fahmia Al-Fotih
Ramadan is just one out of 12 months in the year. However, it is considered the only unique month which we wait for and make special preparations for every year. Ramadan, the holy month, comes every year with its special and unique blessed nights and spiritual atmosphere.

It comes and brings many beautiful meanings for all, even children. I still laugh as I remember when I was child and I saw people prepare and talk about Ramadan saying 'Ramadan is coming', I thought that Ramadan was so important that all people cared and prepared to receive it. Then I grew up and learned more about Ramada, and I loved it even more. Now, many of our children frequently think the same and ask questions about what Ramadan is.

So, every year despite of being in the kitchen for long, tiring hours to prepare Ramadan dishes, I really enjoy Ramadan and I feel its days pass away quickly.

However, this year is completely different and I am sure that I will never forget it. This year I am in London and not in Yemen and it is the first time I will spend Ramadan far away from home.

This year, I hardly noticed the coming of the Ramadan. I did not see the people share the happiness of Ramadan's coming with me, nor did I see people preparing for Ramadan. I was not overwhelmed with the expressions of 'Ramadan Kareem' and 'Ramadan Mubarak' from the people around.

The most important thing is that I miss Yemen and its people with whom I used to spend the most beautiful nights. I miss my family, with whom I used to break my fast and sit together enjoying the special and pretty nights of the Ramadan.

I feel that the Ramadan days here are as any normal days. I cannot hear the voice of the mosques rising together in harmonious, religious tone any more.

Actually I, like other Muslim students who are far from their homes, try to make and create our own Ramadan days. But our attempts dramatically fail.

Some Muslim students try to come together and have al-fatoor and try to invent Ramadan nights and Ramadan dishes. It is really funny and pathetic when we wander in the English supermarkets to look for special ingredients for making special fatoor.

However, we end up eating some rice, pasta and market-made food. We sit around the table with sighs remembering the nights of Ramadan in our homes and how the people spend them. And al-Shahoor is not better than Al-Fatoor and it may be worse. Sometimes we catch al-Shahoor and eat some biscuits and snacks and sometimes we do not.

Maybe I got rid of the burden of cooking for long hours in the kitchen (I hope that my family does not read these lines), but now I truly do not mind sitting in the kitchen and cook many dishes. I really miss my favourite dishes, al-Shafoot and Sanbossa and other home-made food.

All I can say here, Ramadan Kareem to all people in Yemen and all over the Arab and Islamic world and I wish that they enjoy this holy month and its spiritual atmosphere. And I have another wish, but it is between Allah and me. Ramadan Kareem!