... you are either an invited guest in the Kingdom or by circumstance due to lack of opportunities, means, you were not forced directly by the host country to come here, therefore, you are subject to the prevailing laws. You should be aware of the laws and be subject to it, and be sensitive to the Kingdom's local customs & traditions.
... to be objective and broaden your mind of the differences you observe, social & cultural. Learn to take a grasp on the local customs, be flexible. You'll find it exciting and you'll recognize the value of these new experiences later on. It's a country rich in ancient and exciting history. Start with learning the Arabic language, it's fun, it's useful...after all, it's one of the Top 10 languages in the world .... and ranked 5th on the World's Top 10 Most Influential Languages
... Ramadan: is an Islamic Holy month. Moslems fasts between sunrise and sunset. You are expected to respect it by not eating, chewing, drinking or smoking during the fasting hours in public.
... you should not impose nor isensitively practice your own country's values, customs & traditions on the Kingdom's society. Don't expect life to be the same as prevailing in your own home country.
i find this quite astonishing when women dress up in thobes with long sleeves specially in ramadan whether they are in work, school or occasions. there are even women who buy and keep special thobes in order to wear them in ramadan from one year to the next! they are usually fancy dresses or well-embroidered, usually have a traditional look, either saudi, palestinian or just hijazi thobes, which i'm not quite familiar with. i myself have 3 or 4 though i'm not a big fan of women's thobes.
i think it's a cultural phenomenon to wear such thobes and walk with crystal or pearl rosary in hand and a miswak stick in the mouth. it's quite compelling as you just find yourself indulging this cultural quick change in ramadan. interesting!
well add more pics later
Its the 9th month in the Islamic Calendar. In the Islamic traditions, Muslims supposed to observe the crescent to annouce the first day of Ramadan the next day; so the same thing to end fasting. In Jeddah, the whole lifestyle of people simply changes.
- Shopping malls operate 5pm -2am and in the last 10 days of Ramadan until 4am!
- Public and private sectors including schools start late with shorter days usually 10pm- 3pm
- My part of cultural amusement: the streets and malls start to wear a new dress of decoration, red, white, and green and other traditional colours
- Saudi women wear their traditional fancy thobes, only to show them off in this month!
- Fasting people often seen with prayer rosary either for praying or fashion, and again with Miswak chewing stick to let the mouth smell go away, based on an Islamic tradition
- Restaurants close during the whole day to all people and start operating after al Asr prayer (late afternoon).
- Mosques, usually big, host free Iftar meal every night for 30 days, sponsored by volunteers and home-made food and drinks. It is the holy month of increasing good deeds and spreading goodness, so people usually bring lots of food at Magrib prayer to have their breakfast (first meal after fasting) together. When the prayer is being called, exactly in 2 minutes, all the food and wastes will be cleaned away as people collaboratively do this! i love this scene.
- Mosques perform Taraweeh prayers after Isha (the usual evening prayer), and that is 8pm -9:30pm. In the last 10 days, there will be another service, ie Tahajud, 12am -3am.
- People prepare special food and drinks only for Ramadan, including Sambosa, Dates and Dairy, Cereal soup, Foul, and loads of desserts like Toromba, basboosa and mehallabiyya. The modern joke is...that Ramadan is supposed to lose weight but now it is to gain more weight for all the special Ramadan sweets and desserts. It is just an enriching flourishing experience for everyone:^)
This is a kind of savoury pastery that is favored for Ramadan breakfast,it`s almost impossible to find a Ramadan(Islamic month of fasting) table with out a Samoosa,either filled with minced meat,white cheese,chedder cheese or even dates.
I think it was originally brought from India,but in Arabic it`s called samboosak,or Samboosa.
here is a picture of my home made Samboosak,
it`s filled with meat,onions and dill.And I usually cook them in a well heated oven,,not deep fried ;-)
It`s a custom in Jiddah to break our fasting on certain food which are:
2-glass of yogurt drink.(or any juice).
4-Samosa(dough stuffed with either cheese or minced meat and deep fried).
5-Foul beans(pronounced fool).eaten with Tameez bread.
most house wives prepare the food,,but some might grab a thing or two from any take-away restuarants,here in this picture it shows the Q-line of people bying the Foul and Tameez.it was on a rare rainy day in Jiddah!
If you check the 2nd picture on this same tip,I have pictured a sweet dish that is called Basboosa.
When the new moon appears in the sky, announcing the begining of the month of Ramadan,the whole nation gets on the run.
People rush into markets getting the needs of this holy month.
We break our fasting with dates and Laban(that`s a yogurt drink).Then the table is set with lots of dishes,two most important are the Samousa,which is usually stuffed with minced meat or cheese..and soup(usually whole grain soup).And not to forget the famous ,Fool bean,(weird name you're saying to yourself ;-)we eat it with Tameez bread,originally brought from Afghanistan.
(check the 2nd picture)of my own iftar table,iftar is the Arabic word for breakfast.
I always include the Fatoosh Lebanese salad which is something that I got a habbit of breaking my fast on.
In this photo I`m showing you Boxes of gifts that has been brought to us from my husband`s cousin (they were filled with the best dates!
I took my kids to the city center where they can experience and feel the spirit of Eid(it`s the celebrations that ends the Holy month of Ramadan).
There are many vendors all over the streets selling candies and sweets in preprations for the next day........
Everybody is happy specially the kids....and a candy lover "like me"!!!!!!
In Ramadan,streets,shops,restuarants all get ready by decorating the place with the spirit of Ramadan.
here is a picture of mall`s gate painted with symbols of the holy month!