After a long day of fasting and barely an hour of eating, children were sticking their heads out of the windows waiting for the mufti to announce whether the day of Eid al-Fitr, is tomorrow or the day after. It was only a few weeks ago where I stuck my head out of the window to hear whether or not Ramadan was the next day, and now, it is coming to an end.
As we walked through the neighborhood, making our way to a really loud and packed Ramallah tonight, I heard plates, cups, and spoons clinking in a sink – a whole lot of them.
“Guess someone’s doing the dishes,” I told my mother as we walked past the house.
“Good thing we ate using plastic plates and cups today,” my mother told me. I nodded in agreement.
My favorite part of this month, Ramadan, is walking through neighborhoods after eating and listening to the words of the Holy Quran echo into the long night of prayer and worship. I enjoy observing my surroundings, and even more so, when I flip through my memories and compare everything with the previous Ramadan. This Ramadan, I passed by the same ten kids that are always out in the street with their bikes arguing about what they want to do. I passed by the little corner store that I love to go to for little things when I was a kid and that my little sister always wants to stop at. I passed by people praying outside of the mosque as the words of the Quran poured on them from the speakers. I passed by the one house that always has an old lady on one couch and an old man on the other. I passed by this really huge pine tree. I passed by this house with an old man sitting outside with a towel on his head – every time. I walked and walked only to reach my grandmother’s house in the end.
And as much as I passed by and saw and heard, I couldn’t explain the feeling of relief, love, and happiness that this month brings.
Though, today, our path went a different way. We decided to head to the really loud and packed Ramallah. Music was being played, tons of chitter chatter was going on, a bunch of “What do we need this for?” was yelled, and of course, people stepping on other people’s feet – the usual. The candy stores were full, and so were the ice cream shops, and we can’t forget the clothes shops that even if you did want to enter, you wouldn’t.
The beauty parlors and barbar shops were full with people wanting to get their best look on. The stylists looked busy (in fact, were), but you could hear laughter, some gossip or grim story going around between the people waiting or getting their hair done.
Then, you have the people that run into people and stop in the middle of a packed street to say their hello’s and how-do-you-do’s and other details that should be said over the phone, but “everyone’s been so busy.” It’s nice running to people and catching up in a packed city, isn’t it?
On the way back home, the neighborhood was quiet save for a few families walking around.
“You think everyone’s asleep?” My mother asked.
“No, I think everyone is in Ramallah or perhaps even Jerusalem,” I replied, and indeed, Facebook statuses and Instagram photos prove most were.
There’s something relaxing about this month. I felt it while the sheikh was reading the last few chapters of the Quran today. As takbeer occured after the maghrib prayer and the smell of ma’mool filled the kitchen, I felt a bit sad and moved. A beautiful month has passed.
“Put that plate in the sink,” I told my brother, and tonight, that is the last plate that will clink.
Have a blessed holiday!