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Time to celebrate!

Celebrating Ramadan Bayram is one of the highlights of the year
Celebrating Ramadan Bayram is one of the highlights of the year

If you ask the children of SOS Children’s Village Sarajevo what their favourite time of year is, you’re almost guaranteed that the answer will be Ramadan Bayram! Ramadan Bayram is another name for the traditional Eid al-Fitr celebrations that mark the end of the Ramadan period. The Ramadan Bayram celebrations last for three whole days and involve much eating and spending time with friends.

“Ramadan Bayram is one of the greatest Muslim holidays and it marks the end of the fast,” explains 13-year-old Anisa.“It brings a festive atmosphere to our home. The whole house smells of our SOS mother’s delicious cooking and we all try hard to be on our best behaviour and dress beautifully!”

“Preparation is key,” says Dina, Anisa’s SOS mother. She prepares delicacies and other special meals a few days before the actual holiday begins. This means that during the festive period she can spend time with the whole family and doesn’t have to spend too much time in the kitchen.

Good food and friends

The first day of Ramadan Bayram begins early. Everyone tucks into some delicious dates and the boys head off to morning prayers. There they meet Hamid, their SOS brother who moved out of the Children's Village in Sarajevo to the SOS Youth Home last autumn. Dina and the girls stay at home and make breakfast and await the arrival of Aida, their big sister who also moved to the Youth Home. Once the boys are back, breakfast can begin! After a month of fasting, everyone enjoys the array of food and all the sweet treats on offer. A babble of excited chatter fills the room as everyone catches up and stories are swapped – Dina is especially pleased that Aida and Hamid have been able to join them and asks them endless questions about their time in the Youth Home.

A family from Children's Village Sarajevo eating their first Ramadan Bayram meal
Eating good food in the company of family and friends forms a big part of the Ramadan Bayram celebrations

As is the custom on Ramadan Bayram, guests start arriving around 11am. “I look forward to our guests arriving as I get to serve them the baklava (a traditional sweet made with filo-pastry and sherbet) I made specially,” says Anisa excitedly. “Mum helped me make it, and everyone knows that her baklava is the best baklava in the world!”

Present time!

After the guests leave, the children decorate the table for an extra-special lunch, including some bread made by Enisa their 10-year-old sister. Ramadan Bayram gives everyone the opportunity to get baking or cooking and try out new dishes.

After lunch, the boys wash the dishes (the only time all year they do it without complaining!) before the family visit Dina’s parents. “It is so nice to get outside and walk on Ramadan Bayram,” says Anisa. “The city is clean and shining and everyone smiles and greets one another.”

“When we get to our grandparents’ house, we are given some presents! Mum has been very clever hiding them here – she knows we’ll always try and find them if she leaves them at home,” Anisa giggles. The giving of gifts is an important part of the Eid al-Fitr celebrations.

“I love Ramadan Bayram, it gives everyone a chance to see each other and forgive anyone they may have fallen out with,” says Aida, Anisa’s older sister. “It is a family time, full of fun, food and happiness.”

It's not too late to donate Zakat this Ramadan. Find out more. 

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