As part of the activities of Doha, Capital of Culture in the Islamic World 2021, The Qatari Forum for Authors continued its Ramadan program “Suhoor with an Author” by introducing a new episode about the customs and traditions of the blessed month of Ramadan in the continent of Africa. This episode is entitled “Ramadan in Africa”, during which the organizers hosted the artist Muhammad al-Sunni Dafa Allah from Sudan, and from Morocco Mrs. Rashida Al-Sayeh.
At the beginning of the episode, the presenter of the program, Dr. Ali Afifi, asked the artist Muhammad al-Sunni about the preparations of Sudanese people for the month of Ramadan, so the Sunni said, “All friends gather up to two months before Ramadan, in order to collect the requirements of the holy month as if it were a charity, and they make a drink named “Al Abri” or “Alhelew wa Almor”, which is made of corn. They leave it for a long time in the sun till it is dried, and then they grind it. In fact, “Al Abri” is the main drink for the month of Ramadan, which is manufactured and prepared usually by some women who keep it a period before the beginning of the month.”
With regard to the spirituality and rituals of the month of Ramadan, he said, “Every residential area must include a” seclusion “, which is concerned with memorizing shorter Suras from the Holy Quran before entering school, and on Monday and Wednesday of every week in the month of Ramadan there was a solidarity act that we all do. Indeed, the teacher who memorizes Quran puts a large vessel, and each of us puts what he brings from his home, whether corn, lentils or something else. In the end, they make a wonderful meal of Balila or other foods out of these ingredients to renew our energy, and make us feel joyful as children. After breakfast children gather and sit with adults and serve them by carrying dishes and utensils for breakfast, and then continue playing until Tarawih prayers, and after Tarawih, they continue playing until midnight.”
In the second paragraph of the episode, Mrs. Rachida Al-Sayeh spoke about the Moroccan woman and family’s preparations for the holy month of Ramadan.
She said, “Moroccan woman knows very well that she receives a month, not like the rest of the other months of the year, so she renews and arranges the house, and goes for a special shopping as it is the month of fruits, fish, food and cooking. Woman in Morocco also prepares many of the foods that will be eaten in the holy month”. For example, the well-known “Chebakia” sweets are prepared in Morocco in the month of Sha`ban, in addition to the “Sofouf” which is prepared with nuts such as almonds, sesame and dried fruits, butter, honey and olive oil. It is also prepared before Ramadan in large quantities and set aside as storage to be used every day in Ramadan.
She added, “As for “Harira” soup, it is the main meal in Ramadan, as it has to be on the table every day, and we find around it the rest of the meals such as “Baghrir ” or “Raza al-Qadi” or boiled eggs, dates, samosas, hot salads, “Al-Taktouka” and “Al-Zaalouk”, as well as the cold salads, such as the well-known salads of tomatoes, cucumbers and other kind of salads.”