In different parts of Iran, people, tribes, and ethnic groups celebrate the holy month of Ramadan with various rituals which have been passed down from generation to generation.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the lunar Islamic calendar, during which, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk, which is an exercise in self-restraint, aimed at making the rich experience the suffering of the less unfortunate.
Fasting is obligatory for Muslims, with the exception of pregnant women, the ill, children, or those suffering from diabetes.
Many Muslims perform Ramadan rituals with special ceremonies. Let’s take a look at some in different parts of Iran:
Jomeh-Alwedaii in Shiraz
On the last Friday of Ramadan, people in the southern city of Shiraz go to mosques to pray for their wishes to come true.
Known as ‘Jomeh-Alwedaii’ (farewell Friday), the ceremony is attended by young girls who wish for getting married and infertile couples who wish for having a child.
Pregnant women also sew the first cloth of their future child in the mosque on this day believing that it brings happiness and luck to him or her.
It is also customary for people to visit after iftar, and sometimes to sit together until dawn, talk, and eat snacks at night.
Kerman and “Kelidzani”
People in the southeastern province of Kerman also follow special customs during the holy month of Ramadan and are bound to cultivate their souls and perform the sacred acts of worship and rituals of this month.
Kelidzani (key knocking) is one of the customs of the people of Kerman, which is held on the nights of the holy month.
In this ceremony, a woman puts a mirror and Quran on a tray and goes to the houses of the locals while covering her face, she knocks on the tray with a key.
After opening the door, the landlord takes the mirror inside the tray and looks at his face, then puts some sweets, sugar, or money in the tray. In the end, the food or money collected is given to the poor.
Cooking Kakoli in Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari
This ritual is performed in all parts of the southwestern province on Ramadan 27th and the nights of Qadr.
In this tradition, people bake Kakoli (local bread of Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari province) and distribute it among people in religious places such as mosques.
In order to make their wishes come true, Bakhtiari women go to the city’s mosques on the 27th of Ramadan with henna trays on their heads and pour some of each other’s henna into their trays, then mix it with rose water on Eid al-Fitr and rub it on their hands and feet.
Arak-Barak tradition in Sistan
One of the popular customs in the southeastern Sistan region is called Arak-Barak (literally means to bring and take), which is one of the old customs of Sistan and its nearby villages. If smoke rose from a house during iftar, the house owner had to take the food they had cooked to the houses where the smoke reached.
With this custom, most people were guests at each other during Iftar, and the poor were not left helpless. This custom is still prevalent in the region, and people send rice milk, breadcrumbs, or Sholeh Zard to their neighbors during Ramadan.
Shooting cannon in Tehran
One of the interesting customs that were common in old Tehran was announcing the time of Iftar by firing cannons. Exactly in the past years when there was no technology, the people noticed the time of Iftar by firing cannons in every corner of the capital.
A bag of blessing in East Azarbaijan
On the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan, women, and girls of each family in the northwestern province of East Azarbaijan gather together and sew a bag for their family.
They put some money in the bag and keep the bags in a box until the next Ramadan. They called it ‘Barkat Kisasi’ in the Azeri dialect, which literally means ‘bag of blessing’, which they believe protects them from being poor.
Welcoming Ramadan in Mazandaran
People in the northern province of Mazandaran welcome the holy month of Ramadan by fasting three days before the beginning of the month. They begin to fast from the last days of Sha’ban – the month before Ramadan – which is one of the meritorious months in Islam.
They also hold Khatm-e An’am, a kind of ceremony during which the attendees read the Surah Al-An’am from the Holy Quran before the Iftar meal – when people end their fast at sunset.
The attendees break their fast with some bread, a pinch of salt, and some water, which the host put on a large tray by the host.
Ramadan rituals in Birjand
Chahar Derakht (Four Trees) is one of the aging neighborhoods in the eastern city of Birjand where traditional Ramadan rituals are held.
Each night, on the night of the 27th of Ramadan, two women watched anonymously, wearing a white outfit (chador), covering their faces, and carrying a tray on which the mirror, chestnut, a bowl of water, and a bucket were brought to the houses of the people.
These people, in their houses, were knocked at home several times with their mattresses, and the landlord notices their presence and welcomes them with flour, candy, or money, a ritual similar to that of Kerman.
Ya Ramadan ritual by Turkmen
Turkmen who live in northeastern parts of the country hold several rituals during the holy month of Ramadan. One of them is called ‘Ya Ramadan’, originally ‘Yari Ramadan’, which literally means ‘half of Ramadan’.
On the 14th and 15th nights of Ramadan, a clergyman or an elderly man accompanied by a group of men walk along alleys and streets of the city or the village and sing a song about the resistance of those who fast during the first two weeks of the month and encourage them to fast for the two coming weeks.
They go door to door and one of them carries a bag in which they collect what the families give them and other people answer ‘Allah Hoo’.
They share the collected items with poor people.
This year Ramadan began on April 3 in Iran.