How Jeddawis welcomed Ramadan in the old days

How Jeddawis welcomed Ramadan in the old days
Updated 12 July 2014

How Jeddawis welcomed Ramadan in the old days

How Jeddawis welcomed Ramadan in the old days

“There is a significant difference between how we receive Ramadan today and how we used to welcome Ramadan in the past, particularly as the advanced technology we enjoy today has tremendously weakened our intimate, simple, and easy-going attitudes, as well as the spirit of Ramdan,” said Ali Al-Ghamdi, a 65-year-old resident of the Baghdadi neighborhood in Jeddah, in his conversation with Arab News.
“We used to have more family visits then, attend to the poor and the needy, and prepare Ramadan dishes such as soup, samosas, and various types of desserts. After taraweeh prayer, we would take part in recreational games and play sports in the city center, such as football,” he said.
Seventy-year-old Abdo Yamani also shared his memories about Ramadan more than 50 years ago, saying “We used to welcome Ramadan with traditional songs, and the night of the start of Ramadan would be like Eid itself, as families would visit their neighbors from the afternoon until after dinner.”
He said children would also visit families in the old neighborhoods, chanting traditional songs and carrying the fanoos throughout the streets.
Yamani described typical practices in Ramadan, indicating that families would purchase their necessities and food items for the month of Ramadan starting from mid-Shaaban. Iftar meals would always include soup, accompanied by samosas and small donuts, known as loqmat al qadi, he said. Each family would prepare an array of desserts, from pudding and cheese-based desserts, to other popular homemade desserts prepared in different flavors such as cranberry or orange. Housewives would also typically prepare Aldabyaza, a dessert made with apricot, nuts, and dried fruits, he said.
He added: “The families of the neighborhood would get together for iftar, and would prepare the Ramadan tent daily, which would come in different colors and sizes.”
He said when he was young and he would hear the sound of the cannon indicating the start of Ramadan, he would go out with some of the children singing “Welcome Ramadan! Welcome Ramadan!,” in anticipation of the start of the month.