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Sudan: Group fast breaking -- characteristic of Sudanese Ramadan
By Fayez el-Zaki Hassan
KHARTOUM, (Xinhua): The Islamic holy month of Ramadan still maintains its uniqueness in Sudan where people preserve a common tradition of group Ramadan fast breaking in squares and spaces outside their houses, sharing food with others. "This is one of the good features of Ramadan in all parts of Sudan where people are keen to break their fasting in groups outside their homes. This is a social tradition that we have inherited from our ancestors. It indicates solidarity, cohesion and generosity of the community," Imad-Eddin Ahmed Babikir, a Sudanese citizen from Khoujalab area, some 22 km north of the capital Khartoum, told Xinhua.
In these group fast breaking gatherings, people carry their own food and drinks to a square in their community, a nearby mosque or a space near a major road, to invite passers-by and poor people to join in and share with them their food. This group fast breaking tradition spreads out in the outskirts of the Sudanese capital Khartoum and along the highways linking the capital with Sudan's different States.
Shortly before the fast breaking time, young people clean and prepare the area or the space set for group fast breaking, spreading mats on the ground. People then start to gather, bringing their food and drinks to this particular area, and sit on the mats to break their fasting.
"At these outskirts of the capital, nobody breaks his fasting inside his house. Those who do so would become a community outcast, " Babikir added.
Mohamed Haj El-Zain, a Sudanese citizen, told Xinhua that "we wait for Ramadan year after year to perform this social tradition which has been passed from our fathers and grandfathers."
This tradition constitutes a feature of cooperation and solidarity among the Sudanese people. The poor and the rich enjoy together same food and drinks. The group fast breaking also avails the opportunity for the neighbors to communicate and socialize as they keep chatting after fast breaking until the call for al-Isha (evening) prayer.
However, despite keenness of the Sudanese community to preserve its traditions in Ramadan, including the group fast breaking on public streets, some categories started to gradually abandon such deeply-rooted traditions.
"Unfortunately, this social tradition has started to fade away and many people presently favor fast breaking inside their homes, to which the community is not used," Ustaz Nour al-Huda Ahmed, a young man, told Xinhua.
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