Ramadan Around the World
More than one billion Muslims throughout the world celebrate the holy month of Ramadan.
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Each Ramadan, a festival is held in the Bosnian capitol of Sarajevo which offers many cultural, social and religious activities including group iftar, classes and shows in mosques. The festival begins at the yellow citadel and continues throughout Ramadan at various historic buildings around the city.
Pita Sirnica (cheese pie)
Pitas (phyllo-based pies) are popular not only in Bosnia & Herzegovina but throughout the Balkans. They come in a variety of fillings including meat and potatoes but cheese is a popular, and delicious, classic. Serve with a glass of buttermilk or extra sour cream on top!
Recipe: All That's Jas
During the Turkish Ramadan Festival people give away sweets, coffee and desserts to friends and relatives. Children also watch historic Turkish shadow plays in the street. Ramazan Davulcusu (Ramandan drummers) wake up people for suhoor by walking the streets beating a double headed drum. In addition to beating out different specific rhythms, some also sing rhyming couplets known as manis.
Turkish Melted Cheese and Cornmeal
This breakfast staple in Turkey’s northern Black Sea region is a delicious blend of local cheeses melted together with coarsely ground cornmeal. It is cooked in a sahan, which is a copper pan with two handles (like a paella pan). Pieces of fresh, crusty bread are used to scoop up the mixture with your fingers. This dish has a wide range of regional names including kuymak in the city of Trabzon, mıhlama in the northeastern provinces like Erzurum and Bayburt and muhlama in Rize and Artvin. In Giresun and Ordu it’s called yağlaş.
Recipe: The Spruce Eats
Intricate lanterns named fanous are lit in Egypt to welcome Ramadan. Fanous symbolise the unity and joy of the holy month. The tradition has taken on a spiritual and cultural significance and the brightly coloured lanterns are now closely tied to Ramadan celebrations. During the holy month, children walk the streets with their lanterns, singing songs while asking for gifts and sweets.
Atayef asaferi (Cheese- or Walnut-Filled Mini Crepes)
Atayef are thin and lacy stuffed Arabic pancakes. What sets these pancakes apart is that they are cooked only on one side, the other side is velvety because it is covered with bubbles, this allows the flavors of the filling to permeate the atayef. There are two types of atayef, regular and mini atayef (also known as atayef asafiri). The regular ones are usually stuffed with a cheese or nut filling, then they are sealed and baked or fried. Regular atayef are then served drizzled with simple syrup. The mini atayef are served without cooking. They are usually filled with cream then they are dipped in ground pistachios and served with a drizzle of syrup.
Recipe: Chef in Disguise
Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim country, it is home to 12.7% of the world’s Muslims. A central Indonesian tradition in preparation for Ramadan is cleansing and purifying called paducah (bathe in Javanese). Javanese Muslims soak their bodies in springs in the days leading up to Ramadan.
Kaastengel (Cheese Cookies)
Kaastengel came about through Dutch influence in Indonesia over the 350 year colonisation of the country. This influence led to these delicious, buttery, flakey cheese cookies which get their flavour from strong, hard cheeses like cheddar, edam, or gouda that were introduced to Indonesia by the Dutch. These cookies are especially popular during Indonesian holidays including Ramadan and Chinese New Year.
Recipe: Food 52
Worshippers in Saudi Arabia are awoken for their suhoor meal by a Musaharati each morning. Musaharatis, also known as Abu Tabila in the Eastern Province, walk the streets of residential areas beating their drums to announce the suhoor meal. Every day during Ramadan, Iftar takes place at a different family member’s house according to age.
Kunafa is a delicious Middle Eastern dessert that involves crunchy shredded phyllo pastry, creamy cheese and sweet rose and orange blossom flavoured syrup. It’s a popular staple for holidays and looks great as a centrepiece on any table.
Recipe: Every Little Crumb
Chaand Raat festivities begin in Pakistan with the end of Ramadan and start of Eid-al-Fitr. Women and girls rush to local bazaars after the final iftar to buy colourful bangles and paint their hands and feet with intricate henna designs. Shopkeepers decorate their shops and stay open all night. Local women also set up henna stands along shopping streets to attract customers that are out shopping and offer them on-the-spot henna.
The word Pakora is derived from a Sanskrit word which translates as “small lump” of deep fried food. This is a popular iftar recipe thanks to being easy to prepare and popular with many different palettes. Pakoras explode in popularity during Ramadan with potato and cheese varieties being most common.
Ramadan is often associated with a chance to “wipe out the old and start anew”. Ramadan preparations begin with cleaning and rearranging the house as well as purchasing new kitchen tools and dishes. It is also common to invest in new cutlery for Ramadan hosting and entertaining. Ramadan preparations also include purchasing local dates, dried fruits, nuts, honey, grains and other ingredients that are key ingredients in Moroccan cooking.
Briouats are a traditional Moroccan appetiser drizzled with sweet (and sometimes spiced) honey. These crispy pastry appetisers are especially popular during Ramadan. They can be folded into cylinders or triangles, baked or fried, and stuffed with a variety of fillings, including labneh.
Recipe: Recipe Fiction
No matter what your favourite iftar dish is, Mera would like to wish everyone a happy Ramdan!