The month of Ramadan is in full swing. It began May 26 and will end June 24 this year. Ramadan is the month of the year when Muslims abstain from food, drink, and impure thoughts during the daylight hours. It is a time of reflection, self-discipline, and devotion, generosity of spirit, and for family and friends to get together.
As soon as the sun goes down each day during Ramadan, the fasting period ends and Muslims are permitted to eat until sunrise the next morning. Many special foods are traditionally prepared and eaten during Ramadan.
In Saudi Arabia, the daily fasting period is often broken with a glass of buttermilk and some dates, which is what is done in my husband's family. After the sunset prayer is performed, the "Iftar" meal is eaten together with family and friends.
During Ramadan, many restaurants offer fancy Iftar menus and oftentimes an all-you-can-eat buffet menu is provided.
Sweets like Baklava, Kanafeh, and Basboosa, are in abundance and are often given as gifts during the month of Ramadan as well. The gentleman in the photo above is selling many types of sweet golden honey.
Decorations for Ramadan often features this red, white, and blue design pattern. Special captivating lanterns are lit and are commonly seen in businesses as well as homes.
Ramadan buffet food displays in restaurants are sumptuous elegant works of art. Patrons pay one set fee to partake of the buffet. There are also many public places that offer free Iftar meals where people gather to break the fast together.
Television programming is also very popular during Ramadan, with a special line-up of religious discussions, dramas, comedies, soap operas, and game shows, as well as old time favorites. After the Iftar meal, many families gather around the TV to watch their favorite shows together.
Like the Christmas season in the US, Ramadan in Saudi Arabia is a very spiritual time of giving and being kind to others. The end of the month of Ramadan is marked with a celebration lasting several days called Eid al Fitr. People often sport new clothes for this celebration, and children are given gifts.
Special thanks to my friend Vicki Reynolds, who gave me permission to use her photos for this post, as I am currently outside of the country for the summer.