With the sighting of the crescent moon, the holy month of Ramadan brings a transformation to the valley of Kashmir, where tradition merges harmoniously with a sense of spirituality and unity. The streets of Kashmir resonate with a blend of age-old customs and contemporary practices, creating a unique ambiance of cultural, religious, and traditional fervour across the valley.

From the centuries-old SeherKhwan, marking the pre-dawn call to wakefulness, to the breaking of fasts amidst large gatherings, and the congregation for Taraweeh prayers, Ramadan in Kashmir is observed with deep reverence and enthusiasm. Families gather for pre-dawn meals (Suhoor), fostering unity as the old and young come together to eat, pray, and strengthen familial bonds.

One of the most divine aspects of Ramazan in Kashmir is the tradition of Taraweeh prayers. As the sun sets behind the majestic mountains, mosques across the valley resonate with the melodious recitation of the Quran. The faithful congregate for these special prayers, seeking spiritual enlightenment and solace in the tranquility of the night.

One of the favourite delicacies of the month, different qualities of dates imported from other countries are available in abundance for the locals.
Shopkeepers have displayed an array of traditional delicacies, including different qualities of dates, which are in high demand. “There is a huge demand for imported dates these days, and it shall continue throughout the month,” Ahmad, a shop owner at LalChowk, shared.

Muhammad Mateen a local shop owner shares his views on the changing dynamics of Ramzan commerce, ” The holy month of Ramazan brings in different vibes while markets remain abuzz and there is a huge hustle and bustle till late in evening. We offer a blend of traditional and contemporary items during this auspicious month. While our roots are deeply traditional, we also cater to the preferences of the younger generation who seek a fusion of old and new.”

Over the years , Kashmir valley has seen a vast market for dates that are imported from gulf countries and consumed in large quantities in Kashmir.
Across Kashmir valley charitable initiatives and community kitchens have also sprung up ensuring that no one goes hungry during this sacred month. Volunteers at different places, including hospitals are working tirelessly to distribute meals to the needy embodying the spirit of compassion that is synonymous with the month of Ramazan.

Mohammad Ibraheem, a volunteer at a local charity reveals that Ramazan represents a time of giving back to the community. “The joy of helping others, especially during Ramazan, is unparalleled. It’s not just about food, it’s about showing love and solidarity with those in need. We leave every morning at the time of Suhoor and distribute meals among the people in mosques or hospitals or streets. Similarly at the time of Iftar also we do the same”, he said.

Despite the evolution and adaptation to modern times, young Kashmiris feel deeply rooted in their cultural heritage while embracing new practices that resonate with the spirit of inclusivity and compassion.
“We still cherish the traditions passed down through generations, but we also believe in extending kindness beyond our community. Ramazan is a time for reflection and empathy,” Mehreen, a local, said.

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