Ramadan rituals reflect community traditions

Home & Away Saturday 03/June/2017 22:32 PM
By: Times News Service
Ramadan rituals reflect community traditions

Muscat: Starting from moon-sighting and fasting from the first day until the last day, the rituals of the holy month of Ramadan vary from one country to another.
These rituals are reflected in the customs and traditions practiced by the community or in the practices of the individual families, inside and outside home, including meals, visits and other things.
There are certain rituals during the holy month, starting with moon-sighting, where everyone awaits the announcement by media of the beginning of the holy month. The same applies to the end of the month as everybody awaits the announcement of the first day of Eid Al Fitr.
If the moon is seen, people gather at mosques for evening and Taraweeh prayers.
After finishing the prayer, they greet and congratulate each other on the occasion of the advent of the holy month. They also visit their relatives.
Of Ramadan rituals in our community, the collective breakfast eaten in mosques and the gathering of family members in the eldest’s house are some of the notable ones.
Families prepare themselves early for Ramadan by buying food supplies they need to prepare the usual meals.
Some of the wilayats of the Sultanate, particularly in the Governorate of Muscat, mark the middle-of-Ramadan night, where children tour the alleys of their neighbourhoods, celebrating what’s locally named “Qarankashoh,” a habit, which is practiced in several Gulf Cooperation Council states, but under different names.
Many traditional markets are held in several wilayats, some are well-known weekly markets, such as the Wednesday market, Thursday market or Monday market. Others are held throughout the year, such as the Muttrah market, Nizwa market, the Central Market in the Governorate of Dhofar and other markets.
Seasonal markets are also held and during religious events only (Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha) and are locally called “Habta Market,” which is held on a fixed date known to the people. “Habta Market” is an old practice in the Sultanate. It is an open market that enjoys a large turnout of visitors and citizens and is held a few days before the Eid.
Habtat (plural of Habta) varies in their timing in some of the wilayats of the Sultanate. Some are held on the 23rd day of Ramadan and continue till the end of the month and the same Habta is also held during Eid Al Adha.
The Oman Charitable Organisation (OCO) distributes food under its Iftar programme in various governorates of the Sultanate. Everyone rushes to do good during this blessed month, hoping to be rewarded by the Allah Almighty.
At the end of the holy month, competent committees prepare for moon-sighting or Shawwal. When the moon is seen, people exchange greetings and congratulations. Some do that three days before the advent of Eid Al Fitr. Rituals vary from one wilaya to another. -ONA