Ramadan Kareem

Midway through a week of tough news, Ramadan began in the Muslim world. A month of the Islamic lunar calendar, Ramadan is a period of alternating fasting and feast for Muslims, with their time divided between Quranic meditations and fantastic iftars. These iftars are definitely an enjoyable way to break the day-long fast and spend time with family/friends. They are also often an opportunity to enjoy some Ramadan entertainment.

My personal favorite Ramadan entertainment when I lived in Jordan was watching Bab al-Hara, a Syrian-produced soap opera that showed life in the Levant at the dawn of modernity. A few times during that Ramadan I hung out with the Egyptian migrant workers who lived/worked on King’s Academy campus, and we watched the show together while tugging on a nargeelah filled with zaghloul-flavored tobacco (too harsh for my taste). Definitely a unique experience. You can see me with one of my Egyptian friends from King’s Academy below.

To celebrate Ramadan, I think I’ll be making a visit to my friend Hitham at Pita Cabana.¬†Pita Cabana’s schwarma and falafel are just about the best you’ll find in the States.¬†Originally from Irbid, Jordan (just south of the Syrian border), Hitham actually runs a couple great restaurants in downtown State College — the second, Joie de Crepe, just opened recently.

But I wanted to leave you all with something, too. First is a link to Google’s Ramadan resource. Looks like they’ll be putting up some neat content over the coming weeks. The second is a video of my favorite Arab musician, Abdel Halim-Hafez. The region’s most famous crooner, Abdel Halim Hafez was also known as Egypt’s dark-skinned nightingale. In this video production of Ahwak (translation: “I love you”), you’ll see why his fame grew so great. Do you have a favorite Arabesque musician? Umm Kulthum, maybe? Let me know in the comments.


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