There’s a certain whiff in the air around town, and it’s not the humidity signaling the beginning of a scalding summer. It’s the cooling wave of spirituality and excitement of Jeddawis anticipating for the holy month of Ramadan.
Cruising around the cornich, you start seeing a trace of Ramadan lights going up with an aroma of cardamom and coffee at kiosks preparing for iftar picnics. It’s the holy month of connecting deeply to religion and to Arab pride that appears through embroidered linen gowns, fried goods, nostalgia bazaars and packed mosques.
It starts with a decorating trip to Souq Al Shate’, with the flamboyant red and Islamic designs covering every corner, with customers haggling their way to get the best deals from the little shops. Singing lanterns and decorative ornaments that dangle from palm trees illuminate the streets and the hearts. The month is only official when your mom asks you to bring down the box of gimmicks from storage.
Soon, kindness will radiate through the streets with young men standing at traffic lights waiting to feed those stuck in traffic at iftar and neighbors extending hellos and food platters. More importantly, you will reunite with your loved ones over a decadent table of food.
It’s about the old meeting the new, Al Balad revisited with floods of people remembering old Hijaz, the different generations getting together without the excuse of life or stifling schedules.
Lastly, it’s about our Islamic heritage brought back home to where it all started, with Makkah and Madinah just a drive away. It’s about being close to the spirit of Islam alongside our modern celebrations in a city Muslims can call home.