Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Ramadan & Eid

Ramadan has just finished in Iraq & the Muslim world. The last day of Ramadan, which is a month, was on sunday 22nd of October. Fasting according to Islam includes not eating or drinking or smoking from sunrise till sunset, not to have sexual intercourse with the husband/wife in the same period of the day, to try to do good deeds as much as one can do, to practice good habits…etc. In general, Ramadan is a month for focusing on training oneself soul to get closer to God by enhancing the good qualities of ones conduct. Lying, tittle-tattle, using bad language, false promises, hurting people…etc are forbidden in Islam. Many people find it not easy to quit such bad qualities. By creating an environment of watching each others behavior, it helps some people to quit them.
Ramadan has its cultural traditions and folklore activities. One of the famous folklore games is (Al-Mih’haibis). It is a game which needs nothing more than a finger ring and two teams of unlimited members. Each team tries to regain the ring which is hidden in one of the closed hands of the whole members of the opponent team. One member of the team who seeks for the ring goes through the players of the team which has the ring. Every player in the team with the ring should raise his hands in front of him so that the seeker, and his team, can see them clearly. The seeker should be of good ability to control the opponents psychologically and has predictability about where the ring might be hidden. He keeps on opening hand after another by pointing to each and saying his prediction. He has the right to consult his team players about their predictions. If he points to a certain hand and announce a wrong gesture then the one who has the ring shouts (Bat).

When the shout is heard that means the ring is going to remain with the same team for another round and another point is to be added to their score. Here a short break is made to sing traditional songs, mainly (Murab'aa), praising the victory of the team. Such game is played at night after breaking fast. There are famous ring seekers in every city and town. In Baghdad, for example, one may find these famous seekers in the old parts of the city. The old parts of Baghdad consist of alleys, and till now great games are held between the alleys teams.The trophy of the game is a big tray or more of (Baklawa). It is a kind of sweets well known in the Mideast countries. These trays of baklawa are to be eaten by the two teams when the game is over.

Nowadays such public gatherings are unsafe because of the bad security conditions, especially in Baghdad. Some Iraqi TV satellite channels organized championships for the game to keep it alive in the minds of new generations.
Ramadan is followed by Eid Al-Fitr (Less Bairam). First day of Eid, of three days, was on 23rd of October. Eid Al-Fitr represents a celebration of fasting after Ramadan. An Islamic ritual at the end of Ramadan is to pay little amount of money by every Muslim who has sufficient income. This amount is called (Zakah El-Fitr). It should be paid, by those who like to, on the last day of Ramadan. It is one kind of the social insurance in Islam. This (Zakah El-Fitr) is to be paid to poor people so that they can celebrate (Eid El-fitr).The amount differs from one year to another. This year it is about $1.5 for each person. That is to pay $1.5 for each member of the family by the paterfamilias. One may pay it directly to poor people whom he/she knows. Otherwise is to give it to a trustee.People visit and greet each other on Eid. In Iraq the most common greetings is (Ayamkum Sa’eida) which means (wishing you happy days).

A friend of mine insists on changing this greeting to (wishing you normal days). Of course he jokes about our abnormal days since 1990. He explains that we live under the line of normal days, so we should achieve normal life and then to think about happiness.Finally (Ayamkum Sa’eida) to all readers of this post.

2 Comments:

Blogger Serena said...

Eid Mubarak.. wish you and your family all the best. From a Muslim friend in another part of the world.

10:25 PM  
Blogger MixMax said...

Ayamkum Sa’eida, this what I wish you and wish all Iraqis all around the world.
It is nice of you to put all Ramadan and Eid Iraqi rituals in one post so others can read and know about how Iraqis spend their Ramdan.
I wish these days will come back soon where people can walk in streets safe to go and enjoy Mih’haibis, and to visit and congratulate each other on this blessed occasion.

9:38 AM  

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