Makkah: The city that does not sleep in Ramadan

Makkah Never Sleeps

Ramadan in Makkah is like no other experience in the world. It is as if the city does not sleep; its roads and streets are crowded throughout the day and while there is a momentary reprieve after Maghreb prayer when people break their fasts, the hustle and bustle that has come to characterize life in Makkah returns after Taraweeh prayer and continues until Fajr (dawn) prayer, Al-Hayat daily reported.

The manifestations of Ramadan in Makkah are numerous due to the existence of the Grand Mosque in the holy city and the large number of Umrah pilgrims who come to the city from all corners of the world. Pilgrims who throng the city are of different races, nationalities and ethnicities but what unifies them is their worship of one God.

An elderly citizen of Makkah, Ismail Bakhsh, spoke to Al-Hayat about the manifestations of Ramadan and the traditions of Makkah residents in dealing with Umrah pilgrims and visitors to the Grand Mosque.

“Serving Umrah performers and visitors is a tradition that has been inherited through many generations. The preparations for Ramadan begin in early Shaaban and while they may appear to be simple, a lot of time and energy goes into them.

“Citizens begin to purchase and collect food items in preparation for the banquets that begin on the 1st of Ramadan for iftar (breakfast) or suhoor (the pre-dawn meal) in the house of the head of the family. Aside from this, since so much food is cooked during the month, people exchange dishes with neighbors,” he said.

Bakhsh said pedestrian traffic on the streets of Makkah begins after Dhuhr prayer as business is brisk and there is a flurry of activity in the markets until dusk. He said trade is brisk in Ramadan and the profits are high compared to other months of the year.

“The crowding on the streets reaches its peak before the call for Maghreb (dusk) prayer. Shops selling ful (mashed fava bean), subiya (a Hijazi drink made of fruit), shuraik (a kind of bread) and cake become heavily crowded.

“Pedestrian traffic drops sharply after the call for Maghreb prayer as if the city does not have any residents. Movement on the streets resumes shortly before Isha (evening) prayer,” he said.

Bakhsh said food carts increase on the streets with baleelah (chick peas) stalls being the most famous. Baleelah is one of the most popular foods in Hijaz.

Subiya carts are also popular as it is a drink found on most Ramadan tables in the region.

“Makkah cannot live up to its Ramadan atmosphere without its stalls. If one were to tour Makkah’s old neighborhoods, one would find preparations going on round the clock. All of this characterizes Makkah and the whole of Hijaz,” said Bakhsh.


Racing to do good
Fire rips through shanties in Makkah’s Al-Mansour Street
%d bloggers like this:
Powered by : © 2014 Systron Micronix :: Leaders in Web Hosting. All rights reserved

| About Us | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Disclaimer | Contact Us |