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.