What happened to the Old Ramadan and it’s traditions?

By on July 31, 2013

What happened to

When I was a little kid, Ramadan meant something. It was huge; the streets would be decorated with beautifully patterned Khayameya (tent) cloths, the “Konafa” guy would set up his round table a week ahead of Ramadan, the lines at the supermarket were part of the festivities, and everyone would buy a “fanoos” that lit up with either a candle or oil. Whenever my dad picked me up from school, he’d ask to see my tongue to check if I had broken my fast and eaten something at school or not (which didn’t really work since I used to eat and then rub my tongue with a towel to make it dry and white again therefore making it seem like I’ve fasted for a whole day). People would greet you in the street with a simple “kol sana wenta tayeb” (a greeting, basically meaning “give me money” that is currently abused by beggars and used all year round) but still was the perfect reminder that Ramadan was here. Paper decorations would be hanging from building to building, big paper lanterns (aka fanoos) would be the ugliest yet prettiest thing your eyes saw every day, and little children singing “wahawy ya wahawy” (a colloquial Egyptian rhyme that greets Ramadan and asks God for forgiveness). It wasn’t long ago when we celebrated Ramadan this way, but recently the holy month has been like a chore rather than something we were excited about. The whole Ramadan spirit was lost somewhere down the road. The konafa’s turned into a “fancy” dessert stuffed with mangoes or spread with Nutella. It’s like the Grinch who stole Christmas decided to come after Ramadan just because we loved it so much. He stole the “fanoos” and gave us a China made, Britney Spears- singing version instead. He stole the “kol sana wenta tayeb”, and gave us “matkhaleneesh aftar aleik” (meaning, don’t piss me off, I don’t want to break my fast on cursing you). He stole the happiness of standing at the market to get your Ramadan supplies for your family and for charity bags, instead you can now call a 0-900 number and they’ll do the bags for you and hand them out to the less fortunate too. I’m not going to blame the Grinch for stealing the tent cloths (aka “Khayameya) because we already have the burglars- that wait till everyone sleeps- , to blame for that. Ramadan is four days away today, and the Konafa guy still didn’t set up his table. The Katayef guy is also nowhere to be found. No lanterns, no decorations, not even ONE Facebook greeting or tagged wall photo like we’d get every year. I don’t know where the spirit has gone, I don’t know what happened to the Fanoos, and Wahawy, and both the Konafa and Katayef guys that are MIA, but all I do know is bit by bit we are losing our traditions and identity. We are too consumed with our everyday petty problems, to the extent that we’re forgetting about God a little more each day. We can’t stop thinking about September because that’s when Ramadan will be over and we can hit the beach again!

Dear Grinch,

Ramadan is more than fasting to us. It’s not a chore, although we’re obliged to fast, we like to please God for at least 30 days of the entire year. We don’t want the lame TV episodes, we don’t want the firecrackers, and we DEFINITELY don’t want the fake fanoos, so take these and give us back the old Ramadan. It’ll give you a bigger heart, I promise!

Sincerely, the little kid waiting to come out again.

the Old Ramadan and it’s traditions?

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