Ramadan traditions can be pretty similar across the world. The decorative lanterns sprawled across cities, family gatherings, and signature dishes.
But of course, each country in the region adds their own twist to the holy month. From mouthwatering local dishes, to celebrating a child’s first day of fasting—here’s how Ramadan is celebrated across the region.
Ghabga is a common tradition in Kuwait. The tradition is essentially a get-together, held between futoor and suhoor. The word ‘ghabga’ means ‘late night meal’ and are held to maintain social interactions during the holy month. They’re event taken to a corporate level, with many companies across Kuwait hosting ghabgas for their employees to mingle.
If you’ve ever spent your Ramadan in Saudi Arabia, chances are, you’ve gotten a taste of sobia. The popular fermented drink, which saw its beginnings in the holy city of Mecca in the 1950s, has made its way across the Kingdom, from Riyadh and Damman to Abha, Jizan and Tabuk. No, it’s nothing like Egyptian sobia. In Saudi Arabia, the drink is made of barley, cardamom, cinnamon, mixed with oats or raisins. Whilst it’s naturally white, it’s then dyed with natural additives like hibiscus, turning it a shade of red—and it’s drank all throughout the holy month.
Breaking your fast with a date or two is common everywhere in the region. But in Libya, bsisa is how it’s done. The paste is made of a varying mixture of ground up roasted cereals, and often, fenugreek. It’s then mixed with water, olive oil and honey, turning it into a paste.
When a child starts fasting their first Ramadan, they’re invited to a different person’s home practically every night of the month—it could be a neighbor, a relative, or a family friend. Of course, the tradition wouldn’t be complete without the child fully decked out in traditional Moroccan clothing. The festivities are all done in effort to encourage the child to continue fasting.
The number of musaharatis might be slowly dwindling, but their tradition remains as cherished as ever. Like many places in the world, Jordan is home to musaharatis, who walk neighborhoods before dawn during Ramadan whilst banging on their drums in order to wake people up for their suhoor meals.