Four years back, I set my foot out of my country for the first time and started my journey in a completely new environment. What was new was the culture, what was new was the geography, but what remained unchanged, was that people remained same everywhere. They remained human wherever I went these years. And as I look forward to witnessing one of the most pious sacraments, the Holy Month of Ramadan yet again very closely, and with one of the most beautiful people around, I have understood the beauty and the very importance of the month in an even better way.
Any festival is an expression to celebrate the culture, the tradition, and the glorious heritage the place carries with itself. The true meaning of any festival is to rejoice special moments and emotions of our lives, with our loved ones, near and far alike. They help us immensely in connecting with our roots and origin once again and help us to preserve it. By way of celebrating together, we forget enmity and embrace each other. A natural bond of love is created, and environmental harmony ensues. The whole aura changes as the festival connects everyone and gives us identity-identity of belongingness, identity of oneness.
So, what is special about the Holy month of Ramadan? Ramadan is the ninth and the most sacred month of the Islamic Hijri calendar, it is the holy month of fasting, spiritual reflection, and prayers. It is essentially the time of the year when Muslims all over the world renounce food, water and other desires and practice self-control, self-discipline, sacrifice, empathy, and compassion towards those who are less fortunate. The blessed month encourages acts of generosity and compulsory charity.
Last two years, the Ramadan was different. Amidst the lethal pandemic outbreak, the recent years witnessed the festival in a more earnest manner. Large public gatherings were a straight no and the communal event of breaking the fast iftar was restricted to the close family members followed by performing tarawih (special night-time prayer). The schools were shut, and millions worked from home. Amidst all this, the decorations and ornamentation of the houses and streets through display of crescents, stars and Eid Mubarak lightings across the followers of the faith have always been in full fervor, showing the solidarity the festival bestows upon all. This is indeed a delight to watch across the curvaceous streets of Oman and the vivacity it carries with them.
The dire situation of the worldwide pandemic calls us upon to bring more compassion, more empathy towards fellow human beings, towards the ones who are less fortunate ones and come together to celebrate the true spirit of the festival irrespective of race and religion. Isn’t purifying our souls, contributing our bit towards the betterment of the mankind and being kind to one another, the greatest celebration?
Let us be more reflective, let us look within! Happy festivities to all!