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. 


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