Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ramadan in Pakistan

The excitement begins when people see the Ramadan moon. There is a buzz in the streets late into the night and people begin to prepare for the month of fasting by the storing the things needed to start the fast. The men head into the mosque for Taraweeh prayers, while the women start sehri (pre-dawn) preparation.

In order to wake every one for sehri a man strolls in the vicinity before dawn. The sound is loud enough to wake up all those who are sleeping. The box is a cheap replacement for traditional drums.

Donations and prayers
In Ramadan Allah showers many blessings and even the smallest of good deeds can reap great fruits. During Ramadan, we remember the people who live hand to mouth, never knowing whether they can get enough food for the next meal. Therefore Ramadan is considered as a month of showing love for the poor.

During the day, people recite Quran and pray extra. The normal working hours should be altered so that people work earlier than usual to go home for Iftar. Students love it because classes end at 12.30 in Ramadan, while they can rest the entire day.

Many Pakoras
The preparations for the Iftar meal begin at noon. Each house has numerous varieties of Pakoras (fried vegetable fritters) that are fried to open the fast - Iftar, in fact, would be incomplete without it! The people also enjoy fruit chaat (fruit salad with herbs) Dhai bharhey (seasoned yogurt dumplings) and samosas are very popular with everyone.

Restaurants have special menus for Iftar and Sehri, so many people eat out during Ramadan. After the Iftar meal, prayers are offered and the men go for Taraweeh prayers in the mosque, while the women get together in a local house gather to pray. Everyone goes home every day with tea.

Night of the Moon
The last day of Ramadan is a transition, and with them comes its blessings. The last night of Ramadan, when the new moon is in the sky, it is said to be  'Chaand Raat' (Night of the Moon) and promotes Eid. Eid ul-Fitr is also known as Meetha Eid (Eid Sweet) because it has more sweets than the Eid ul-Adha.

Decorated with colorful lights, the shops are open all night, because everyone buys new clothes and shoes for Eid. The atmosphere is excited and happy. Girls buy bangles and bracelets according to their outfits. That night women and girls paint their hands with henna (Mehndi) with different patterns before going to bed.

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