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WorldAsiaThe atmosphere of Ramadan permeates the traditions and lives of the peoples...

The atmosphere of Ramadan permeates the traditions and lives of the peoples of the Balkan countries during the blessed month


The Balkan region represents a habitat for many civilizations and nations, as it combines the charm of the East and the West together, the nature of its geography and its distinguished location in Europe, which, although its customs and cultural heritage differed, is affected by the nature of the peoples that inhabited it, enlightened by the cross-fertilization of its cultural heritage with the natures of the incoming nations, such as Arabs, Persians and Turks. and others.

In recent years, interest has increased in the four countries of the Balkans, first Bosnia and Herzegovina, then Albania, Kosovo, and finally North Macedonia, especially in the wake of two decades of wars and conflicts, accompanied by brutal massacres and demographic and civilizational changes that affected the peoples of these countries.

With the advent of the blessed month of Ramadan, special events begin in the four countries, religious tourism or cultural tourism is activated, and religious ceremonies and rituals full of the traditions and past of the four peoples are celebrated, as the Bosnians celebrate the so-called Ramadan festival, as the local authorities deliberately decorate streets, mosques and public squares, and change The work system allows for the establishment of many dhikr circles, religious lectures, and exhibitions of household products, especially in the market "Bash consult" It is built in the Ottoman style, and the merchants wear their traditional costumes, adding to the splendor of the atmosphere, and a mosque stands out from the country’s buildings "Farhadiyeh" And next to it a large number of popular cafes.

And in a mosque "Ghazi Khosrow Bey"which was built by the Ottomans in 1530 AD in the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, there are various Islamic civilizations, some of which are from Turkey, including what is coming from Indonesia, down to the natures of some Gulf countries that attended strongly in recent years due to the construction of mosques there.

And not far from a mosque "Ghazi Khosrow Bey"The smell of Ramadan foods, including bread, takes one’s breath away "Somon" Fresh before breakfast, which Bosnians maintain the traditions of its traditional industry, as it is frequently consumed in large quantities and in different sizes and flavors commensurate with the Balkan cuisine rich in meat and spices, primarily kebab meat and various salads, and its conclusion is musk with the most delicious desserts, especially baklava.

The population celebrates, even once a week, a group breakfast, and the menu is not satisfied with breakfast, as there are items that characterize the suhoor table full of vegetables, fruits, and pie dishes. "beta" Of Turkish origin.

And after Bosnia, which has a population of about three million and 400 thousand people according to 2020 estimates, and its ethnicities are divided into three: Muslim Bosniaks who make up 51 percent of the population, Serbs who represent 32 percent, and Croats who are estimated at 14 percent, have been reduced to Along with other diverse minorities, gradually the restrictions of the precautionary measures against the Corona pandemic since last year, the traditions of collective breakfast in public places such as gardens have returned to the atmosphere, along with events and rituals that characterize the authentic Bosnian Ramadan traditions, which made it a destination for visitors, and a haven for Arab students seeking peace and tranquility. and other European Muslims. In turn, Ramadan in Albania, located in southeastern Europe, with a population of about 3.4 million people, 80 percent of whom are Albanian Muslims, has a special flavor, no less elegant than what Bosnia knows, thanks to the interaction of the Albanian people with the holy month of Ramadan with rituals and worship. The Islamic sheikhdom in the capital, Tirana, announces the start of the month of fasting so that the exchange of congratulations begins and the preparations of Muslims to receive the blessed month begin by publishing introductory booklets, and drums are beaten to crackle with loud voices during the suhoor and iftar periods, accompanied by a sound "mesaharati" Who repeats some prayers and religious supplications, and the Maghrib call to prayer is broadcast on the main channel every day of the holy month.

Celebrations are reported in the field "Iskandar Bey" In the center of the capital, Tirana, which is adorned with lanterns and electric lights, in a pleasant atmosphere that the place lacks in other months of the year. People also gather in mosques, the most important of which is the "Religion Khoja"and a mosque "they are pi" In the capital, where lessons of knowledge are held, and circles of recitation of the Qur’an are held, and imams of mosques and preachers provide some lessons and lectures, and some imams and scholars are usually recruited from Turkey during this holy month. In recent years, Arab sheikhs and scholars have also come to Albania from all parts of the Arab world.

Among the other customs that the Albanian people follow in the blessed Ramadan is the holding of marriages, as it is considered a season for marriage and most weddings take place in it. Tirana to meet his imam to pray for them, and to sit there for some time to pray for success and happiness and to recite the Qur’an, especially since the Muslims of this country consider this as a sign of blessing that they need at the beginning of their lives.

In Kosovo, which is located between Albania to the south and Serbia to the north-east, and declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, the festive atmosphere of the advent of the month of Ramadan is not devoid of the advantages of residents and visitors alike feeling that they are in a Muslim country in the heart of Europe, as Ramadan activities and events are characterized by diversity. If they are in mosques or in Islamic centers and Quranic schools, to include lectures, collective breakfast tables and competitions, as well as women’s activity during this holy month in Islamic centers and some mosques, as this is concentrated in special courses for them, and in some competitions and seminars.

The Muslims of Kosovo, who hail from Albania and make up the vast majority of the country’s total population (95 percent) of 1,739,000 people, depend on the astronomical calculation in determining the crescent of Ramadan, following what is practiced in Turkey, and based on the fatwa of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, The Islamic sheikhdom and Islamic centers there are also trying to investigate the month of Ramadan on the night of the twenty-ninth of Sha’ban.

The blessed month of Ramadan for Kosovars is characterized by visits and family gatherings that start from the time of Iftar to continue with the night-night session after Tarawih prayers and extend until the time of Suhoor, while a Ramadan festival is held in the capital / Pristina / that includes many events, such as the Ramadan tent in the sports complex square, And collective breakfast, and providing breakfast meals for free to the poor and needy, workers and students.

As for food and drinks, they distinguish it "boric" With minced meat, which is the most prominent manifestation of the Kosovan breakfast tables, apple juice is also the most important drink at breakfast, with dates or dried figs before going to perform the Maghrib prayer in the mosques, and then they gather at the family breakfast table in which the main dish is not without the famous Balkan sweets, In addition to different fruits.

As a reminder, Islam had entered Kosovo through merchants, diplomats, and preachers, but its actual spread began after the advent of the Ottomans, especially in light of the presence of Kosovo leaders within the Ottoman Empire such as (Balaban Pasha) from the leaders of the conquest of Constantinople, as well as the great writers and poets who were They write in five languages: Albanian, Bosnian, Arabic, Turkish and Persian, like the researcher (Muhammad Akif Arsoy).

And in the last of the Balkan countries, North Macedonia, located in the middle of the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe and was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1392 AD, and declared its independence in 1991 after its government signed an agreement in which it secured the exit of the Yugoslav army from its bases quietly and peacefully to spare the country paying an exorbitant price for independence. The celebration of the blessed month of Ramadan is no less important than the rest of the countries in the region, as the Islamic sheikhdom in the country receives, with the advent of the holy month, official congratulations from the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister and senior officials, and the government also sends official representatives during the celebrations for the sighting of the crescent of Ramadan and Eid. In addition, the official media allocates TV and radio programs to Muslims.

The Islamic Sheikhdom in Macedonia also carries out the task of organizing the lives of Muslims through 13 fatwa houses and 580 mosques. Muslims are concentrated in major cities such as the capital, Skopje, and the cities of Tetovo, Gostivar, and Kumanova. It also organizes a national competition for memorizing the Holy Qur’an, which ends with honoring the winners and giving them valuable prizes. The Muslims of Macedonia receive the holy month of Ramadan with a special character, as rituals and worship are held throughout the day and night, and the recitation of the verses of the Holy Qur’an does not stop from the mosques, and the holy month is the start of many awareness campaigns on the need for brotherhood and reconciliation with oneself and with others, and to stay away from evil.

On the Muslim Macedonian street, electric lamps and decorations of various shapes and colors are placed on the buildings of places of worship, minarets, and shops, in celebration of the advent of the month of goodness and blessings, and as usual begins "Al-Masaharati, dressed in his special costume, has the task of waking people up for the pre-dawn meal and performing the dawn prayer.

As for the mosques, they are filled with memorizers of the Book of God, and they are keen to recite the Qur’an and organize daily Ramadan lessons, in addition to organizing group iftars held by the Islamic sheikhdom in different cities, where a spiritual atmosphere prevails full of attachment to the true Islamic religion, and the performance of the obligation of fasting to the fullest, in which Muslims accept to rebuild Mosques, especially the mosque "Mustafa Pasha" In the capital, Skopje, amid a remarkable presence of Macedonian women in mosques with their headscarves, a phenomenon that has been absent from the country for more than 70 years. With the advent of the holy month, the daily habits in Macedonian cities change radically, as everything is arranged according to the spiritual atmosphere of the blessed month, and the streets of Islamic areas are decorated with decorations and lights, and children fire small cannons to signal the start of the Iftar phase, and this festive atmosphere continues until the last day of fasting. Before going to perform the Eid prayer, hoping that the month will return to them in their next year while they are healthy and safe, longing for its spirit, atmosphere and special fragrance.

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Copyright © 2023 The Eastern Herald.

Arab Desk
Arab Desk
The Eastern Herald’s Arab Desk validates the stories published under this byline. That includes editorials, news stories, letters to the editor, and multimedia features on


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