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Fasting month brings happiness and joy

A boy serves plates of fruit in preparation for iftar during last year's Ramadan.
JEDDAH: There is an air of festivity even as the holy month of Ramadan is just a few days ahead.
Excitement can be seen writ large on the faces of citizens and expatriates as they plan for the festive month; family gatherings are among the many enjoyable events unfolding.
The fasting month brings happiness and joy and this is more than evident among the residents who have been preparing for the occasion. Grocery stores are inundated with orders from families who are keen on offering new and traditional dishes.
Ramadan offers and promotions are attracting women and children in particular. They all seem to be keen on shopping for the month in order to avoid the last-minute rush.
Everyone is engaged in preparing for the long awaited month. Rukhsana Munawwar, a housewife, said: “Grocery shopping is very time-consuming.  Thus, I have already stocked up all my requirement of food and foodstuffs before there are seasonal mark-ups in their prices. I am now ready to welcome Ramadan and can prepare myself spiritually, mentally and physically for making the best of this Ramadan.”

One major highlight of the month is that people gather together for the fast-breaking ritual at dusk. This is also the occasion for families to host special feasts and parties for their relatives and friends. So, women in particular are busy finalizing their cuisine for such parties.
Basbousa, mahalabia, kanafeh, sobia (drink), and qahwa (Arabic coffee), including soups and samosas, are among the most popular dishes prepared and offered by families. Aldabyaza is a typical dessert containing apricot, nuts, and dried fruit that is equally popular.
This is also the occasion for men, women and children to plan and resolve how they will improve themselves and change their habits.
Tehreem Ghori shared her plan, saying: “I am trying to streamline my routine so as to get a maximum opportunity to offer taraweeh and the Lailat Al-Qadr prayers during the later days of Ramadan. It’s going to be tough in this scorching heat of Jeddah, so might as well keep well hydrated.”

Ramadan deals such as all-you-can-eat are among the promotions lined up at different restaurants.
Also, keenly awaited is the Balad Ramadan Festival in downtown Jeddah.
The area is considered a living cocktail of cultures and traditions.
As a site steeped in rich heritage, it not only offers history but also personifies the harmonic and cosmopolitan culture of Jeddah.
Glittering lights put up for the holy month enhance the beauty of the area.
Ramadan brings opportunity for local designers to showcase their products on a popular platform. YES! Bizat Al-Reeh, the highly anticipated festival in Jeddah, Ramadan’s biggest charity bazaar that gathers people together to celebrate fashion, style, food and other merchandise, helps to raise funds for a number of charity programs.

Expatriates miss their loved ones back home but love being in J-town especially for Ramadan.
Jeddah being the principal gateway to Makkah makes it easier for them to perform Umrah and experience breaking fast at Masjid Al-Haram.
Fatima Baig, a 21-year-old Pakistani expatriate residing in Jeddah, said: “Ramadan in Jeddah is an amazing experience every year, missing all the relatives is one thing but being able to perform Umrah and break the dawn to dusk fast at Al-Haram during Ramadan is a feeling that is out of the world. I simply love being here.”

A different side to the city will be seen soon, as local residents’ roots come to the fore with fewer stress days and quieter nightlife scene. The closer the Ramadan gets, more excitement grows among them.

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