Hello all of my Muslim readers. I hope your roza’s1 are going well. Fasting is hard this time of the year but its amazing how once your body gets used to it, its not bad at all and you quickly get used to the new routine. You probably know of my love for family celebrations and traditions and making memories, and I realized this was a great time to focus on creating some traditions of our own for this month. All of us reminisce a lot about the ramazans2 we spent at our parents house, or back in Pakistan, I talked about that once before, here, or together with family. We miss those good old days.
But just imagine, your kids are probably going to talk about the ones they spend at your home, their parents home. So its never too early to start our own traditions, unique to our your own family and lifestyle. Specially when we are living in a non-Muslim country, it becomes even more important to make our ramazan feel more special at home. Some of these traditions we might have had at our parents home and love them so much we want to keep doing them, and some can automatically become a part of our own family. Others you can consciously add.
I thought I would share some little routines that are becoming a part of our month and that I could see becoming our own ramazan traditions.
Preparation. A friend gave this idea and it was our second year doing this. we got together before ramazan and made an occasion of making some snacks for iftaris3. Between the four of us, we made some samosas, spring rolls, chicken patties and shami kababs4 enough for four families. Even though I made a fuss about it because I don’t enjoy cooking much (!), we had good fun and its so much less stressful knowing you have a freezer stocked up with some chatpata5 treats.
Sehri6 My husband and I have our own preferences for sehri, so together we each make our own while we discuss one thing or another that is on our minds or that we’ve seen on TV or the news. It is becoming a nice little routine for us.
Iftaris For iftari this year we are keeping it simple. We eat our usual simple dinner and I make a couple of the frozen items we have stacked up on with our dinner. Since its summer, I love to keep a pitcher full of iced water infused with fruit or just lemon slices, with of course our mejdool dates to break the fast. I am also trying to dress up a little before iftari in my desi kurtas7 just because it feels more festive to me. It is natural to feel drained and tired by the end of the day when you are fasting, but I realized that this month is a blessing and we should celebrate it and be excited for it, and dressing the part helps.
Gaining Knowledge I try to listen to tafseer8 daily whenever I get the chance and I like to make notes on my Quran during it. One of my favorite explanations is by Amina Elahi and it is available here incase you are interested.
After iftari, once we are done with our prayers and clearing up the kitchen, Bilal and I watch a little talk or program by one of our favorite scholars. We love Dr. Javed Ghamidi and his knowledgeable approach to all things related to religion. His lectures are in Urdu9 and in case you are interested and wanted something in English, Dr. Khalid Zaheer is another favorite.
Some other things that I would like to include, would be decorating the house for ramazan and Eid, listening to some beautiful faith inspired music (I love to listen to Sami Yusuf), turning your meetings with friends into time for spiritual discussions or learning the Quran together, making a tradition out of writing and sending Eid cards. You could even get family portraits taken specially to add to your Eid card. There are so many other things that one can include to our days during this time, to make them feel special for our kids and our families.
Lets make this month a celebration while of course not forgetting what this month is actually about. Stay blessed.
Were there any Ramazan traditions at your parents house that you particularly miss? What are some traditions specific to your own home? Would love to hear some ideas.
Thanks for reading.
1 Roza is Urdu for a day of fasting.
2 Ramazan or Ramadan in Arabic is the month of fasting. Muslims all around the world abstain from food etc from dawn to dusk.
3 Iftari is the meal Muslims eat at sunset to break their fast.
5 Chatpata in Urdu means foods that has a hot-and-sour flavour. Yum!
6 Sehri is the Urdu word for the meal consumed early in the morning by Muslims before fasting during Ramazan. The meal is eaten before dawn.
7 Desi is typically a word us South Asians use for ourselves and use it to refer to our food, clothes, music etc. The long flowing shirts that are in fashion in Pakistan these days is known as a Kurta and are worn over pants or leggings. Here’s one gorgeous one.
8 Tafseer means an explanation of the Quran. Different religious scholars have done extensive research to come out with their volumes and there are many different commentaries available.
9 Urdu is the language widely spoken in Pakistan and is also spoken and understood in other parts of South Asia and Middle East.