- Holidays and Celebrations
Muslims Decorate for Ramadan with Lights
Uplifting Ramadan Lights in Jerusalem
Lights fill the streets in Jerusalem, during Ramadan each year, signifying the hope of spiritual renewal.
Chains of colored lights remind me of the remarkable mingle of peoples from across the world, who comprise the Body Muslim.
To the unaware, regarding the significance of this holy month, negative stereotypes may prevail, and this is an opportunity to expand on understanding of the purpose pf Ramadan.
photo credit: Kmhad
As in other religions, lights are special reminders of the Divine. One glance at all these gorgeous photos gives evidence to the joy inherent in in the actual celebration of the month.
Reflected light has a special ethereal quality that can lift us from concerns of the mundane, directing our minds to the real meaning of Ramadan. The Creator ensures that His light shines on one and all alike, with none of those artificial worldly designations that dictate our workaday life.
The crystal Diamond brings the best of both aspects of light into our celebrations with both an interior bulb and multi faceted reflected light that flickers around the room.
I can envision this bright crystal lighted diamond shaped piece on the buffet table or on the coffee table where everyone gathers for Iftar. Light the crystal before dawn during preparations for Suhoor. Keep it reserved for Ramadan and Eid, and every glance at the crystal decoration will bring reminders of the values of sacrifice and charity.
Ramadan is a period for self reflection, contemplation, and learning. It is a time when every moment is viewed as a special opportunity to perform acts of goodness.
Islam teaches that worship is not only found during moments of prayer and ceremony, but is also exemplified by acts of charity. A spirit of giving is highly regarded among muslims.
Lanterns Light Up The Way
photo credit: B. Simpson Cairocamels
Solar Lights Brightens Nighttime Celebrations
The Calendar Year, based on the Western calendar, is set in stone, with each month a certain, unvarying, number of days (with the exception of February, which has 28 days for 3 years, and then every 4th year - called Leap Year - has 29 days).
The Holiday Season of Christian winter holidays corresponds with the Winter season in the Northern hemisphere, and Summer in the Southern Hemisphere, and Easter is always celebrated in the Springtime; but Islamic holidays, called Eids, revolve around the seasons every 33 years.
For this reason it can be confusing when store clerks wish a muslim Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays for holidays they don't celebrate. In fact, it is common for muslims to volunteer to work in the place of their co-workers on Christian or Jewish holidays, in businesses and medical establishments that operate year-round.
In the early hours when you rise for your morning meal before the dawn of the Holy month of Ramadan, this string of lights is like a beacon to observance, a reminder of all that is to come during the thirty days of fasting and charity.
This vibrant, waterproof twenty-foot string of solar lights is easy to hang inside the home or out. One year I might string these across the top of the kitchen cabinets where they're visible from the breakfast bar. Another time they express welcome to guests when they're hung from the porch overhang.
Let the multi colored lights remind us of the broad and wonderful diversity of peoples who ponder and celebrate the mysteries of life. Diversity of backgrounds brings richness to the lives of those who share both the traditions and practices of Islam, and to their guests who are just becoming acquainted with Islam and Muslims when they are included in Iftars at homes and places of community prayer.
Anytime I can use free energy from the sun I'm delighted. That makes these strings of pointed lanterns an appealing selection for me.
Islam Follows the Lunar Calendar - the date of Ramadan advances each year
Lit Up for Ramadan Celebration
photo credit: Ugur Basak
Lights strung from one minaret to the next proclaim: Let us love, Let us be loved, at Islanbul's magnificent Blue Mosque.
The aura cast from these candle lights resembles the actual live flickering flames, with the added bonus of safety. It's clean and handy to control the lights with a remote!
I like the humble spirit of these paper lanterns that move with the breeze. This set of lanterns presents a lovely warm atmosphere as family and guests gather for Maghreb and Iftar. I like paper so I'm automatically attracted to a string of red spherical paper lanterns which moves in a light breeze, even airflow from a ceiling fan or air conditioner.
For centuries, decorative lanterns have been hung in public spaces, in recognition of Ramadan. Some lanterns, such as these painted and stained glass shades, are equally enticing, day and night.
Even without the glow of lights at night, these lanterns remain signifiers of Light. Light has many references in Islam, one of them applying to the creation of Angels.
Aisha (the Prophet Mohammed's wife) reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said:
The Angels were born out of light and the Jinns were born out of the spark of fire and Adam was born as he has been defined (in the Qur'an) for you (i.e. he is fashioned out of clay). Sahih Muslim 42:7134
The term Itjihad is often used during this month to remind muslims to concentrate on becoming better at living up to their beliefs. At times the Arabic term is bandied about by the media, with negative inferences, and that is sad and often untentional ploy to spread the misconception.
An itjihad is an internal journey, incumbent upon all muslims, to explore the concepts of generosity of spirit and self denial. The practice of fasting, and giving special charity, for the thirty days of Ramadan,