Muslims around the world continue to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan while observing particular customs an traditions which varies across different countries.
the 30 sacred days observed during Ramadan comes with unique customs, which has become part of the culture of the people and creates their own characteristics.
We will be shedding light on some of the East African customs in Ramadan.
When the start of Ramadan is announced, cities with a Muslim majority are decorated with coloured fabrics and the occasion is celebrated in a festive atmosphere.
Muslims walk around exchanging congratulations and beating drums.
Also, before suhoor, they beat drums to wake fasting Muslims up and sing Islamic songs which urge everyone to fast.
Sometimes they would gather in mosques for a group iftar and everyone would share food together.
In Kenya, people have sweet foods to overcome thirst. They eat traditional foods like cooked rice with coconut, and it is usually served with fish or chicken.
Sokoma is served as appetisers.
They are cooked cabbage with tomatoes and onions. Usually, these meals are served with Kenyan tea, and before Fajr (dawn) everyone gathers in mosques bringing tropical fruit and water bottles to prepare for fasting the next day.
Tanzania has a Muslim population of 30-40%, and there are no official figures because the Tanzanian government prohibits population statistics from a religious perspective.
Muslims there live in freedom of belief and practice religious rituals and have their own customs and traditions.
In the middle of the month of Shaaban, (before the month of Ramadan) Muslims begin to prepare for the month of Ramadan by decorating mosques, streets, and shops with lamps and lights, as well as starting family visits in preparation for the holy month.
Tanzanians are very interested in fasting during Ramadan. The age at which fasting starts is 12. Restaurants owned by Tanzanian Muslims are closed during the day.
Before the Azan (call to prayer) of Maghrib (sunset), some mosques announce the time of iftar by beating some drums and then people head to their homes.
Ramadan meals in Tanzania include dates with which they start their breakfast with alongside with sweetened water and coconut-flavoured rice with vegetables and fish.
As for drinks, you will find tea with vanilla and tropical fruit juices.
Djibouti is an Islamic state located in the Horn of Africa, and most of its inhabitants are Arabs such as Omanis, Yemenis, and African tribes.
The most important custom there includes married women only wearing the so-called “shield”, which is the country’s traditional costume which country women wear on the feast and holiday nights.
The men wear the “Makawy” which resemble the Indian sari. Men wear it around their waists.
A strange Ramadan habit there is that the people of Djibouti stop eating fish throughout the month of Ramadan, as it causes thirst during fasting.
Near the end of Ramadan, specifically on the 27th day, people go out from mosques chanting goodbye to Ramadan.
Muslims who break their fast usually eat Sambousa, Hatees, Tharid, and lamb meat. As for sweets, Djibouti is famous for Mukhbaza.
They also drink tea with cinnamon sticks.