Under a Crescent Moon: Unveiling the Spirit of Ramadan Across the World

When the crescent moon gracefully slices through the night skies, it tells us that Ramadan is here. For Muslims everywhere, this means a special time filled with spiritual feelings. While abstaining from food and drink from dusk till dawn defines the holy month, Ramadan embodies far more than mere physical sacrifice. It’s a spiritual awakening, a social tapestry woven with community, charity, and self-reflection.

Ramadan in the Middle East: A Mosaic of Traditions

Across the Middle East, the traditions vary, yet certain pillars connect most of the countries of the region together. While strolling around the bustling streets of the cities before Iftar, one finds street vendors selling sweet dates and freshly prepared apricot juice for Iftar (breaking the fast), neighbors exchange home-cooked dishes, fostering a sense of community and generosity and families gather in mosques for Taraweeh prayers. The rhythmic drumming of (Al-Masaharati) amble through the tight streets of neighborhoods to awaken the residents for pre-dawn (Suhoor) meals. Even driving downtown at 3AM to have your Suhoor meal means going through the lively streets akin to a morning commute. Streets, shops and restaurants would be filled with people trying to grab their last meal until the dawn. The essence of Ramadan is undeniably powerful, evoking deep love for the season. To celebrate this spirit, we’ve curated a selection of Arabic titles, both classic and contemporary, for exploration here.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia- Al Riyadh: An Ecosystem in Bloom

As we are talking about the Middle East, I would like to shed some light on Al Riyadh the capital of Saudi Arabia, as it’s undergoing transformation, development, and interest in the continuation of prosperity through literature.

Raja Alem is a Saudi Novelist and holder of the 2011 International Prize for Arabic Fiction for her unique style that combines complexity with hermetism. Her novel The Dove’s Necklace captures the essence of a city and civilization grappling with contrasting traditions and emerging modernity in a knotty way. Delving into complex narratives, such as in Sarab, Alem skillfully explores themes of attraction and reconciliation amid the shadows of violent histories. Additionally, her work Fatma presents a tapestry of Saudi culture through vivid descriptions and allegorical storytelling, enriching readers with profound insights nestled within her evocative prose.

Book Clubs in The City

The Kingdom is fostering its literary scene with flourishing writing workshops, vibrant book clubs, and engaging literary festivals. In 2010, two 15-year-old girls, inspired to express their thoughts, founded the Al Riyadh Book Club with the backing of their community. Fast forward to 2024, this book club has expanded to three branches, exclusively for girls from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. These young members, with their fertile minds, flourish in a nurturing and creative space where they can freely express their emotions and ideas.

Explore more about this stop:

Celebrate the holy month of Ramadan with a selection of curated lists featuring Arabic language and cultural content  available in OverDrive’s Marketplace here. Take advantage of up to 50% savings now through March 31!

Expand your international languages catalog by browsing through the World Literary Tour Resource Center. Where you can find both current and past lists of titles curated titles to please the diverse minds of your readers, encompassing a diverse array of catalogs and lists from China, Germany, Singapore, Puerto Rico, India and now Saudi Arabia.

About the author: Razan Al Qaissi serves as an Account Manager within the Publisher Account Services team, specifically dedicated to International Accounts, with a specialization in supporting Middle Eastern Publishers.