is one of the most significant festivals of Maldives. Being a muslim nation, the whole community gets busy with special preparations like renovation of homes and restocking of food items like local spices, dates and water melon. Before we were exposed to easy appliances and modern household technology, every household was decorated with locally available materials. White gravel was spread across the courtyards. This is still practiced in small islands throughout the country.
Ramadan, locally known as ‘Roadha Mas’ is a month of caring, sharing, peace and harmony. Despite the loss of certain cultural flavours in the capital city Male’ and other big cities, Ramadan still comes with the hope for spiritual renewal. Political differences are forgotten and the whole month is devoted for praying and seeking mercy from Allah. Office hours are shortened so that people get ample time for relaxation, prayer and food preparation.
Ramadan is based on the lunar calendar. Ramadan begins with seeing of the new moon and ends with seeing of the next new moon. This usually is a duration of thirty or twenty nine days. Muslims pray five times a day and in Ramadan the mosques are packed with people who perform prayers and recite the Holy Qur’aan. During evenings almost everyone enjoys some relaxing time outside. They go out for walks or rides and will return home before sunset. A day of fasting ends with the breaking of fast at sunset. They break their fast with some dates, juice and water. After a quick breakfast, they will hurry for the sunset prayer. Women at home sets the table ready for the special meal and everyone joins together for a hearty breakfast.
Ramadan is the most awaited festival. Maldivians believe fasting helps to build them spiritually and physically. The occurrence of Ramadan is based on the lunar calendar and hence the date of its occurrence varies each year. While daily prayer sessions are held five times every day, in Ramadan you are more likely to see mosques packed full for all the five prayers. During evenings almost everyone goes out for walks or rides to relax and enjoy the sunset. The day ends with the sunset, when the streets will become strangely remote. Even the entire capital settles down, and for sometime the streets may seem deserted in a ghastly way.