Friday, July 11, 2014

Ramadan Resources

Sometimes my eyes get tired and I try to think of things to do that don't involve reading.  I never get far before I find a book, video or website to stare at.  I figure my eyes can rest when I sleep at night.  Until then, here are some recent articles with information about Ramadan.

Ramadan in Jerusalem 

I am thankful for these articles that spell out aspects of the Ramadan celebration that  I would not have considered by myself.  Of course eating and drinking in public as a non-Muslim would be terribly rude.  It makes sense when I read it but I don't know that I would have realized my error before being offensive.  I don't always play loud music but there are some songs I just cannot resist when the stereo at full blast.  Part of Ramadan is being especially mindful, so very loud music should be enjoyed another time. 


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Traditional Decorations

Many of us know a proverbial 'Elephants Child,' a little one who constantly asks why and wants the reason for everything.  I admit I never outgrew this habit and once something catches my eye there is little chance I'll be deterred.  As I was reading online about Ramadan I was constantly captivated by beautiful scenes of richly decorated cityscapes as well as elegant interior spaces. While it is not difficult to grasp that such an important and lengthy holiday would be celebrated with extravagant displays, I wanted to know more about some of the popular decorations that clearly have extra meaning beyond their obvious beauty. 

The Fanous Ramadan or Ramadan Lantern, is a tradition that originated in Egypt. During the  Fatimid Caliphate, a Islamic Dynasty founded by descendants of the prophet Muhammad's daughter Fatima, lantern's were used to welcome their leader Abu Tamim Ma'ad al-Mu'izz Li-Dinillah.  Lanterns and other decorations are often adorned with crescent moons and stars; symbols with a long history.  The crescent moon and star were found on the flag for the Ottoman Empire.  Modern nations once part of the Ottoman Empire still use the crescent and star on their flag to represent their heritage.  The crescent and stars can be found on the flags of Azerbaijan, Libya and Pakistan among others. Also the Hilal, or crescent moon is the astronomical sight that indicates an arabic month has ended.  As with the Hebrew calendar, the Islamic calendar is based on a lunar cycle. 

You can get into the holiday spirit by decorating your home with Ramadan themed crafts. Pinterest pages offer options for the handy and the not so handy among us. 


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ramadan Fasting

Did you know the length of time people fast each day during Ramadan depends on the country?  Between Fajr or dawn prayer and Maghrib or evening prayer Muslims fast but your geography can have an effect on much time exists between prayers and thus how long Muslims must fast.  In Qatar, residents fast for at least 15 hours.  Much more than Muslims in Australia who for for 10 hours, but less than Muslims in Iceland who fast nearly 22 hours.

How Long Muslims Fast For Ramadan Around The World


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Date Chews


During Ramadan Muslims do not eat between Suhoor and Iftar. Suhoor is the morning meal and must be eaten before sunrise. Iftar is the evening meal and cannot be eaten until dusk. A common food to enjoy at breakfast is dates. While you may not be prepared to fast for the entire day, the following recipe can be a tasty way to start your morning with the traditional ingredient dates as a foundation.

Date Chews-

    Dried Dates
  • Ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup chopped dates
1 beaten egg
1/8 tsp salt

  • Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degree fahrenheit. Soak dates in warm water to soften for about 5 minutes.  Prepare 9x9 inch pan with non-stick spray. Combine all the ingredients, adding the egg last. The dough will be very sticky. Spread the dough in the pan.  Bake for about 20 minutes.  

This is a very flexible recipe, you can add spices like cloves and cinnamon or sweeten your treat with molasses instead of granulated sugar.  Of course other fruits can be used if dates aren't to your liking.  Dried figs would be tasty as well. 

This recipe is from my aunt who got it from her sister. Now my sister and I eat it all the time and we can attest to it being a perfect snack at any meal.