Ramadan has come to a close, the days of fasting, family gatherings and late night suhoors are over. Unlike other years, the holy month during 2023 was special and packed with surprises. To close up this chapter, we felt that a recap of the biggest happenings of the month are in order. So with that, let’s take a look back at some of the biggest Ramadan 2023 moments across the region.
Kickstarting The Month With A Dose Of Charity
Beyond the fasting and the overall festive feel, Ramadan is also a month all about giving back. Starting the month off right, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced a “One Billion Meals Endowment Campaign”. It is a food drive with the aim of raising funds through a sustainable approach. Instead of donations being spent directly on food parcels, the money gets placed into endowment funds where any financial returns are then spent on helping to feed the poor.
By the 20th day of Ramadan, Dh750 million were raised through 120,000 donations from people, businesses and institutions. Today, the campaign managed to exceed its target and raised Dh1.075 billion. The campaign will continue on after Ramadan and will continue to welcome donations throughout the year.
Ramadan Festivities Head To Europe
Bringing another special type of welcome to the holy month, London’s mayor Sadiq Khan lit up Piccadilly Circus in festive Ramadan lights. This was the first time ever that a European city put on such a grand display to commemorate the month with over 30,000 sustainable lights turned on across the street. For the entire month of Ramadan, the iconic West End street was lit up in celebration.
Continuing on the festive spirit, many of London’s iconic landmarks were transformed into Ramadan iftar spots. An honorable mention has to go to the Victoria & Albert Museum, home to an extensive collection of items including ancient Chinese ceramics. Within its lavish halls covered in huge paintings were stretched out table runners where water, dates and biryani were served to the masses. Anyone was welcome to come inside and break their fast within the walls of the museum.
The Shows That Got People Talking
You can’t have a Ramadan season without the hefty TV show lineup that we all look forward to each year. Let’s just say that this year was full of exciting plot twists, heart wrenching scenes and phenomenal acting. This year alone, Lebanese shows were making some real noise especially “We Akheeran” (And Finally), the show that got everyone buzzing at how successful of a duo Nadine Njeim and Qusai Khouli were. Its scenes may have been quite tragic but its fast paced nature kept people hooked all month.
We can’t talk about Ramadan shows without mentioning Number one himself, Mohammed Ramadan who got everyone glued to the screen with his latest show “Jafar Al Omda”. This show gives us a look into the life of Jafar and his 4 wives and all the chaos, fights and jealousy that come with it. Across the entire show, there will always be one standout scene that will remain cemented into the hearts and minds of the viewers, the moment Jafar discovers that Seif is his son. Ramadan gives us that extra slice of drama during that scene and we have a feeling it’s probably going to become a full-fledged meme.
Going Big With This Year’s Largest Iftar Gathering
During Ramadan, it is inevitable for families and friends to come together, have iftar and engage in a slew of conversations. That is the very essence of the entire month and that is why it was exciting to see that kind of activity magnified on a very large scale. Within the narrow streets of Ezbet Hamada, a small neighborhood in Cairo’s Matareya, the biggest iftar gathering was held where more than 5000 people came together to break their fast.
Stretched across Ezbet Hamada street was one of the longest iftar tables in all of Egypt. The entire space was plunged in a festive spirit with balloons splayed along the neighborhood. This was a community ritual that began 9 years ago and became a standard part of every Ramadan celebration.
A Moment Between An Imam And A Cat
For a bit of fun, we’ve picked out one moment during Ramadan that is not so much a highlight as an adorable surprise that immediately went viral. During Taraweeh prayers in Algeria, a cat decided to make a surprise appearance in the crowded mosque. Minutes later, the cat pounced on the imam who surprisingly was unfazed by the jump and continued his prayer as though nothing happened. He kept his cool throughout the prayer even when the cat tried to kiss his face.
Since it was shared online, the adorable video was able to amass more than 46,000 likes and 10,000 shares. It was a truly wholesome moment that showcased the purity and great spirit of the Ramadan season.
Knowing all that has happened during this long spiritual month, whether it was the UAE’s large scale charity or the powerful Ramadan shows that many of us will probably re-watch during Eid, we can say that this holy month was quite special, marked by many unforgettable moments.