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RamadanFeature

Memories of Ramadan celebrations

HerCanberra Team

Marwa Rida of End2End Events shares her memories of Ramadan with HerCanberra…

As a young girl growing up in the Middle East, I always look back at days spent in Kuwait and how my parents surrounded us with family friends that really were a community in itself. This community shared the same values and beliefs in providing the best for their children and making them feel loved and cherished all the while working hard to support the family and community needs.

I recall my weekend visits to the Kuwait sporting club where we’d practice all sorts of sports from squash to tennis, swimming and horse-riding followed with a game or two of bowling before gobbling down some hot chips and tomato sauce – my favourite part of the day!

I grew up with these friends and have fond memories of belonging to this bigger family.

Not only did we spend every weekend together, we celebrated almost every celebration together including the holy month of Ramadan.

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For those unfamiliar with this Muslim practice, Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and considered an intense 30 days of worship as well as a celebration of food, drink and gatherings. Observed worldwide, it is a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammed according to Islamic belief.

As a child I did not need to fast, however, I liked to participate by skipping a meal to feel the pain of people without food or drink. As a young teenager I started fasting for longer hours, meaning I skipped two meals a day but had water or a snack if I really did not feel up to it.

As a high school student and university student I began to fast full days from sunrise to sunset. There were times during fasting where I reminded myself how lucky I was as I knew my hunger and thirst will end after a certain time; while for others, the hunger lasts for days, if not weeks on end. We need only to remember that to test our patience and perseverance when it comes to fasting.

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The month of Ramadan is perceived with a lot of joy in the Muslim Community, despite the fact that you are fasting from dawn until sunset. There are traditions relating to this month-long celebration that resembles Thanksgiving and Christmas in Western cultures, as it is a time to enjoy big family meals at sunset, be thankful for what you have, and remember the poor and the needy in this world whilst enjoying all the food you can possibly fit in between sunset and sunrise.

A month of worship, a month of love, a month of joy, a month to give, all the while refraining from sinful behaviour and use of bad language.

Different family or friends host daily Iftar parties are throughout the month of Ramadan with each taking turns to invite everyone over for a delicious meal. The host spends a full day cooking, which serves well as all people invited bless the host and its family by breaking their fast with the yummy homemade food.

I look forward to Ramadan each year as I get to celebrate it with my Canberra friends and my young family. The home transforms with the hanging of Ramadan lights and the lighting of lanterns in our family rumpus room and around the home throughout the months both during and leading up to Ramadan.

Bowls of dates, nuts, baklava and other yummy desserts are set up on my coffee table all month for both the family and friends throughout fasting. I also try and cook warm, healthy meals for my family throughout the month.

Celebrating significant religious or community celebration is something I hold close to heart, and something I would love to help you celebrate too. As I see it, it’s important to celebrate what matters most to us in the world and be reminded of how lucky we are to be able to do in a safe multicultural city like Canberra.

If you’d like a little inspiration in organising your next celebration, Marwa from End2End Events is only too happy to help.

Experience a taste of Ramadan…

The Lanterne Rooms are marking the end of Ramadan with Hari Raya Aidilfitri — a national Malaysian holiday and lovely open house tradition where families, friends and neighbours get together to well… eat of course. Their chefs have developed a banquet menu for the occasion featuring many new dishes around this theme. To book a table phone (02) 6249 6889.

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