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Jeddah is Buzzing in the Lead Up to Ramadan


As Jeddah’s weather has begun to heat up with temperatures hovering around 36C or 97F, so has the atmosphere in Ramadan.  With Arab schools out for the year and most international schools wrapping up this week (Conti still has a week to go), Ramadan is about to go into full swing. Delina Partadiredja from amuslima.com writes today’s guest blog on the current excitement and anticipation of Ramadan, and gives us lots of practical tips on what to do if one is not fasting, what to be aware of especially during Ramadan and how to take advantage of certain goods available only in this festive month.

Ramadan in Jeddah 2015

A wide variety of dates become available during Ramadan.

The Islamic months are based on the Lunar calendar, so the time of year when Ramadan falls changes from year to year, moving back 11 days each year.  This year we are very thankful that although it will be a long and hot day, our children will be able to enjoy Ramadan without the burdens of school and the unbearable heat.

While around the city, several large supermarkets around Jeddah, in anticipation of Ramadan have already started the festivities.  Large signs greet shoppers with Ramadan Kareem and Ramadan Mubarak wishing customers a blessed fast. Colourful ornaments fill the stores and shopping areas.  You should take a moment to enjoy these beautiful decorations!

For those who are new to Jeddah, or are staying in Jeddah for the first time during Ramadan, you may be wondering what is different about this month in comparison to other months on the Islamic calendar. Ramadan (pronounced Ramzan in the Indian subcontinent) is the month where Muslims around the world abstain from food and water from dawn until dusk.  This is the time of abstinence, forgiveness, repentance and patience.  As this is a blessed time, many Muslims from around the world are interested to come for Umrah (the small pilgrimage) to enjoy fasting and praying in Makkah and Madinah.  You may find there is an influx in traffic and visitors from around the world so when venturing out be sure to wear cool clothes, pack water, ice, and wear comfortable shoes.  You may also want to check with the local mosques to find out when prayer starts and ends so that you may avoid traffic.

As a non-Muslim who is not fasting, what should I do?

  • As a mark of respect, please eat and drink indoors and in the confines of your home. Individual muslims usually do not mind if you eat or drink in front of them while they are fasting, but it is considered respectful not to do so.
  • You may want to shift shopping hours to after dhuhur time (around 1pm) mostly until 11 pm where you will find more people and shops open during this time
  • Some of the best dates and sweets are to be found during this time so stock up!
  • This is the time to shop for clothes and other cool things. — You may want to check out deals here
  • For those who are Muslim this is a great time to complete your Umrah.  You may want to check out this travel group.

Heads up!

  • There are many cool items that are for sale only during the time of Ramadan.  These include beautiful lanterns from Egypt.  The cost will vary but averaging around SR 200 + per piece.  Why not join in on the festivities and get one for your own home!
  • As Ramadan is a fasting month, the demand for food actually increases exponentially which in turns drives up the cost of food.  Prices are expected to increase by 30% for typical groceries. For example: SR 5.95/kg is already SR 7.95/kg, lemons were SR 5/kg but now are SR 11/kg, potatoes were SR 3.95/kg and have now become SR 4.95/kg. Meat will see a price hike of about 15%.  You may want to hold off on buying Camel meat as there has been a recent outbreak of MERS affecting camel meat.  The Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) is working hard to put a cap on rising food prices. You can check out prices here

Finally, we at amuslima.com wish you and your family a blessed, safe and relaxed Ramadan.

Iftar at the Red Sea in Jeddah


We are a few days into Ramadan, and we asked readers to send in their experiences of the month of fasting in Jeddah. In this blog post, Delina Partadiredja from aMuslima.com writes to Jeddah Blog about her very personal experience of Ramadan in Jeddah, describing the ambience of Ramadan for families at the Corniche. Read more…

Zesty Zaatar Recipes to Awaken Your Tastebuds!


Some weeks ago, my neighbour gave me a wonderful gift of some fragrant zaatar (or za’tar) and olive oil. Zaatar is a very Middle Eastern flavour, and is a  blend of herbs (thyme), sesame seeds and salt. Other than dipping some bread into the zaatar and olive oil (which tasted delicious), and sprinkling some zaatar over hummus (gorgeous!), I didn’t really know what else I could do with it. I asked the nice ladies from aMuslima.com if they had any ideas, and they have been kind enough to send me some tried and tested zaatar recipes

The first recipe has been sent to us by UmmZaytun, and is a family recipe handed down to her by her mom-in-law.

“Zataar has some very unique properties – some have said it makes you smart and some say it makes you healthy”, says UmmZaytun. “This recipe handed down to me by my late mother-in-law (may Allah forgive her) is to help you relax and be healthy. It is usually taken if you aren’t feeling so well, or it can be taken to relax you or members of your family.”

Zaatar Milk (serves 2)

Ingredients

2 cups of milk (or soy, almond, lactaid milks are also fine)
2 table spoons of zataar
2 table spoons of honey (or more if you like it sweet. You can also replace with sugar if honey isn’t available)
1 table spoon crushed dry mint
**you can add other dry ingredients such as other types of dry mint, thyme – depends on if you like the flavor.

Method

1. Place all of the ingredients in a small pot.

2. Simmer on low heat until almost to boiling point.

**Don’t walk away from the pot because it will boil over! 🙂

3. To serve: strain the milk and pour into cups. Enjoy & relax!

Zaatar Pizza or Fathira Za'tar, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, KSA

Zaatar Pizza or Fathira Za’tar

Our second Zaatar recipe today has been sent in by Qathrun Nada Djamil. Pizza is a family favourite in many households. Why not try this Middle Eastern version of pizza using zaatar. A great recipe to make with your kids over the summer holidays, and for Iftaar during Ramadan.

Zaatar Pizza

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

4 tbsp milk powder

2 tablespoons instant yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

Half cup oil

A pinch of salt

Half cup warm water

Cup of zaatar and half cup of olive oil, mixed together

 

Method

1. Combine flour, yeast and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in salt. Make a well in the center. Add water and oil.

2. Use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture until well combined, then use your hands to bring the dough together in the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place in the prepared bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place to rise for 30 minutes.

3. Flatten the dough and cut it in round circle (cutter circle shape).

4. Take 1 tea spoon of zaatar and olive oil and brush it (topping it) over the circle of dough.

5. Place it on a baking tray and bake them in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Ready to serve… You can eat hot or cold.

Enjoy!!

Do you have any recipes you’d like to share with us? Drop us an email and yours may be published on Jeddah Blog in a future blog post.

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