Since Ramadan’s start five days ago, Egyptians have been celebrating. The way Egypt’s inherited culture deals with Ramadan is quite cheerful, fascinating and exciting all the time.
Most of Cairo has been decorated with colourful lamps, lanterns and triangle-shaped brightly coloured papers. Children start decorating their neighbourhoods just before Ramadan begins, as a form of welcoming the holy month. As most of the smaller streets of Cairo are narrow, it’s very easy to decorate them with a band stretching the width of the street by fixing them on the balconies of surrounding houses.
For the Fanoos (Lantern), it’s the most wide-spread tradition of Ramadan across Egypt. With several shapes, sizes, materials, colours and designs over the years, the lantern is still the object that holds the spirit of generosity for people in Ramadan.
In what’s called “the month of generosity”, the main feature is charity. Moa’ed Al-Rahman (Mercy tables) are tables filled with meals cooked throughout the day and opened by sunset for whoever finds him- or herself hungry are everywhere. Some restaurants make sure that the mercy tables they establish contain the same food offered for people paying money, so as both can feel equality and satisfaction.
Food of the holy month has another taste as well – Konafah is one of the main desserts people tend to buy most of the month. For Egyptians, dessert in Ramadan is so important that any family gathering wouldn’t be complete without a plate of oriental sweets, and Konafah comes on the top of the list.
The ways Egypt welcomes and celebrates Ramadan is remarkable, and is a form of creating the unique Egyptian identity.
All photos by Amany Kamal