Rediscovering Traditions: Ramadan Festivities  Illuminate Jeddah’s Historic Al-Balad


Rediscovering Traditions: Ramadan Festivities Illuminate Jeddah’s Historic Al-Balad

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Jeddah’s iconic Al-Balad district has been infused with light and joy, resonating with the spirit of Ramadan through a vibrant array of cultural and entertainment activities. Organized by the Saudi Ministry of Culture, these evening festivities are part of a larger program aimed at celebrating the holy month and showcasing Saudi heritage.

Visitors entering through Bab Al-Balad are greeted with the aroma of traditional Saudi coffee, setting the tone for an immersive cultural experience. Throughout the district, specially designated zones offer a variety of attractions, including games, arts and crafts, gourmet food, and theatrical performances.

At the Sardek zone, a Ramadan tent and a cinematic journey through the past captivate visitors, while live cooking shows and Qur’an recitation contests add to the festive atmosphere. A bustling market offers an array of products, from perfumes to homemade pickles, providing a glimpse into local craftsmanship and culinary traditions.

Dressed in Hijazi attire, participants like Sari Salem Hariri, co-founder of Al-Mugasap, embrace the opportunity to share their cultural heritage with visitors. For Badriya Suleimany, selling homemade pickles becomes a platform to connect with diverse audiences and celebrate the essence of Ramadan.

Al-Balad also reverberates with the age-old traditions of Ramadan, including the melodic chants of the Musaharati, who awakens residents for sahoor, and the rhythmic dances of men clad in traditional costumes. Storytellers, known as Hakawati, transport listeners to bygone eras with tales of Islamic history and folklore.

For residents like Saeed Al-Ghamdi and Osman Abdullah, the festivities evoke fond memories of communal gatherings and spiritual enrichment during Ramadan nights of the past. Hadeel Alabbasi, co-founder of Al-Kuttab language institute, sees the event as an opportunity to impart cultural and linguistic knowledge while fostering a sense of community.

In the Hazzazi area, visitors engage in interactive activities, from calligraphy and poetry to traditional games and treasure hunts, immersing themselves in the rich history of the region. For Sarah Hassan, returning to Jeddah from Australia, experiencing Ramadan in Al-Balad is a cherished tradition that allows her to reconnect with her roots and share the joy of the holy month with her children.

The Ministry of Culture’s efforts extend beyond entertainment, with exhibitions showcasing Jeddah’s rich history and archaeological treasures, further enriching the cultural tapestry of Ramadan in Al-Balad. As the festivities continue to unfold, they serve as a testament to the enduring spirit of community, heritage, and celebration during this sacred time.