Yemeni customs and traditions practiced only during Ramadan
At the start of Ramadan, people begin to decorate and light their homes and buy different kinds of food. Even children insist on fasting though it is difficult for them because of hunger and thirst.
Ali Al-Hawani, a chanter, spoke about Ramadan saying, “Children receive Ramadan with fireworks to show their happiness. They play and chant special religious chants known as Tamasi.”
The Tamasi is different from other chants because only children say it while playing, asking Allah to send money for their fathers.
“This kind of chant is like a prayer to Allah to bring good things for people in Ramadan,” Al-Hawani added.
Meals and other things sold in Ramadan
It is popular in Yemen for people to exchange food between one another during Ramadan.
Elham No’man, a housewife, said what distinguishes Ramadan is that people pay more attention to local and homemade desserts, particularly Rawani and Shawbia.
People begin to buy chewing sticks, samosa, dates, and desserts in streets at the beginning of Ramadan. Chewing sticks are very common during Ramadan.
Chewing sticks are taken from the Salvadora persica tree (known as Arak in Arabic). This tree is found in the plains of Saudi Arabia and valleys of the Red Sea area or the Arab Gulf.
“I’m used to chewing sticks in Ramadan since I was a child. Their smell reminds me of Ramadan,” said Fahd Al-Humaidi.
Ramadan is distinguished by gatherings of the youth. Ra’woof Al-Nasheri, a young Yemeni man, says that, “Unlike other months, we gather during nights in Ramadan to discuss essential topics and sometimes listen to religious chants and poetry.”
“Ramadan is very good to strengthen the role of religious chants. Religious scholars perform these chants and they are popular in Sana’a and Hadramout,” Al-Hawani added.
These chants focus on praising the Prophet Mohammed, strengthening unity, denouncing vice and calling for virtue.
Another custom that distinguishes Ramadan is the firing of the Ramadan cannon. It started in Egypt and then moved to Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, the Gulf countries and Yemen.
In previous years, people depended on the firing of the cannon to break the fast.