Ramadan Reminiscing

Although I don’t really like to be in the Kingdom during Ramadan, when I am, one of my favorite things to do is go to Al-Balad, Jeddah’s historical city center. This part always bursts with life, but during Ramadan it seems to explode! Several hours after sunset, the narrow streets and alleys fill with people who are rushing to find new clothes for Eid Al-Fitr – the feast that marks the end of the Holy Month – buy presents for loved ones, and get the best deals on sweets for the parties they will host.

A colorful assortment of candies is for sale during the last week of Ramadan to prepare for Eid.

A colorful assortment of candies is for sale during the last week of Ramadan to prepare for Eid.

This year, Ramadan started on July 10 and ended on August 8, which meant days were longer and hotter than they had been for a good number of years, though not as long as in some other countries. Here is an impression of Al-Balad during the last (busiest) 10 days of Ramadan.

Saudis often walk or sit with these prayer beads. The 99 beads correspond to the 99 names of Allah.

Saudis often walk or sit with these prayer beads. The 99 beads correspond to the 99 names of Allah.

Reading in the Qur'an is one of the things Muslims are always encouraged to do, but especially during this Holy Month.

Reading in the Qur’an is one of the things Muslims are always encouraged to do, but especially during this Holy Month.

The historical center of Jeddah is full of traditional houses - though unfortunately often not well maintained and home to poor people from African and South-Asian countries.

The historical center of Jeddah is full of traditional houses – though unfortunately often not well maintained and home to poor people from African and South-Asian countries.

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