Each year as Muslims, we celebrate the holy month of Ramadan with fasting, praying, remembering the less fortunate, hanging the sparkly decorations on our windows, having family gatherings, and late-night visits, but this year doing all of these is impossible.
The recent global pandemic forced us to ditch what we are used to; this severe situation has made social distancing, partial lockdowns, and self-quarantining the new norm. Usually, the way my family and I celebrate Ramadan is by being socially active with the rest of our society. My parents would invite our relatives over for some tasty dishes that are only cooked during this month (I’ll talk about a couple of these dishes in a second!). Also, after we’re done with the Iftar, we’d go to the mosque to do Al-Tarawih prayer alongside our neighbors and friends. As for me, I’d stay at my friend’s until the wee hours of the night since most people go back to their homes around 3 am to eat their Suhor then start fasting for the next day.
Unfortunately, as you can imagine, all of that has changed. We can no longer invite people over, I can’t see my friends like I used to, the mosque is closed, and people are praying in their homes. Despite all of these changes, my parents made sure we’re going to celebrate and have fun. I hung the sparkly decorations, we gathered around the table feeling healthy and safe, my mom cooked for us her Ramadan dishes that she always does, and my dad got creative and FaceTimed my Palestinian uncles during Iftar so they can still feel that we’re together despite being physically apart. For my family, social media applications are becoming a way of keeping close relationships rather than seeing them as tools to spend extra time on. For example: my parents are utilizing video/voice calls since they can’t do in-person visits.
Now for the tasty part!
One of the many things that we love about Ramadan is the tasty food that can only be found during this time. We get to enjoy different dishes every day with mouthwatering desserts. Qatayaf is the main star of the month, filled with cream, nuts, chocolate or grounded coconut and cinnamon. With the quarantine going on, we decided to make our own Qatayaf, and below is an easy recipe for making your own (click on pictures for recipes)! I hope you enjoyed this quick glance to our Ramadan atmosphere!
Written by Hala AlAli (Jordan) who studied at Montclair State University in the spring of 2020.