Ramadan in Jordan
Leading up to Ramadan in Jordan
In the the last few weeks we have been busy preparing for the month of Ramadan in Jordan. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, it is a month for Muslims to reflect on their faith and how it impacts on their everyday lives. In the build up, the steady flow of the local market place becomes full of those wishing to stock up on essentials, decorations and complete any last minute tasks before the first fast begins.
As the Islamic calendar follows the lunar months, the timing of Ramadan changes a little each year but for now, we are fasting in the middle of the Jordanian summer, the days are long and very hot. Despite the challenges, there is an excitement surrounding Ramadan in Jordan. For some it will be their first year fasting, whilst others have made intentions to make positive change in their lives. Muslims are encouraged to seek and give forgiveness, whilst educating themselves in order to live the whole year in a better manner, refraining for gossiping, backbiting and anything else that can make a person question their own character. Ramadan is a time of togetherness, charity, hospitality and inspiration.
Ramadan in Jordan (Petra) – What to Expect
Before the first light, the town wakes up and a valley, which just minutes before was silent bar the occasional bray of a donkey becomes once again full of life. The air is full of the clattering of pans and plates, families calling each other to ensure they are awake, as the preparation for the meal before sunrise (known in arabic as sahoor) begins – as once the second call to prayer (athaan) is heard the days fast will commence.
Tourist sites, shops and restaurants operating on normal opening hours
Jordan is known for being a relaxed country but Ramadan in Jordan definitely slows the pace of life down just a little more.
The mornings which just a few days before were a bustle of activity, are now a time for resting and reflecting. Local businesses will not open until closer to midday and apart from the occasional shepherd or horseman getting ready for a days work the streets are empty. The Government has also delayed office hours from an 8am start to 10am.
After the sound of the midday call for prayer, movement once again begins in the community, for many they will follow the call and head to a local mosque for communal prayer, whilst other choose to pray at home. As the congregation exits the mosques, the previously quiet market place once again becomes full of life, as shopping is completed for this evenings meal.
As the day leads closer to sunset, shops will once again close as people head home to be with their families and the streets, once again, become deserted. The movement of the town is now in the homes of the local people, fresh juice is being prepared, ovens are being switched off and dates are plated up. Families sit together waiting for the sound of the sunset (maghrib) prayer, after a long day fasting the atmosphere is one of anticipation, peace and gratefulness. The silence on the streets allows for the voice from the nearest mosque to echo around the neighbourhood, once those first words are recited Muslims say a short prayer before breaking their fast with dates, water and sometimes juice. After the initial relief of completing another days fast, the sunset prayer is done and dinner is served.
The life of Ramadan in Jordan often takes place in the evening hours. Mosques once again fill up for the evening Ramadan prayers, coffee shops open and families gather until the early hours enjoying fresh watermelon, qatayaf (a traditional Ramadan desert, resembling a stuffed pancake) and drinking sweet tea.
If you can travel to Jordan during Ramadan, please do so, for it is a chance to experience a part of the culture and life that is truly unique and special. Ramadan can be enjoyed by people of all faiths, ages and backgrounds, fasting or not.
If you have any questions or would like to join us for an Iftaar meal please do get in touch.
For more info on traveling during Ramadan: