In this edition of Ramadhan Around the World, let’s have a look at how our staff in Indonesia celebrate the blessed month!
Maysyaroh Lubis is an Assistant Orphan Officer in Global Ehsan Relief Indonesia’s Orphan Department. Originally from Medan, North Sumatra, she’s only been living in Banda Aceh for a few years. Below is her personal experience of Ramadhan in Indonesia!
"As a foreigner (in Aceh), I’ve spent Ramadhan the past few years by myself. Usually, I prepare for iftar and sahoor by cooking my own meals since I’m not too fond of the local food. Just like in any other city, the people in Banda Aceh also welcome Ramadhan with a food bazaar and many street food stalls. There’s more than enough to satisfy any appetite! You’ll find street vendors selling everything from takjil (sweets) to beverages and even some main courses.
I usually have a coconut drink, savoury snacks, and rice for my iftar. For sahoor, I just go for fried chicken, bananas, and milk. I feel full longer when I have a banana for my sahoor.
Something different you’ll find here in Aceh is that during tarawih time, there will be no activity outside of the mosque. All the shops and businesses will not be allowed to operate until tarawih is over. After that, you’ll find the coffee shops are full of customers relaxing after their prayers, since the people here have a vibrant coffee-drinking culture."
"Besides making time for iftar together with family, the Muslim community here makes it a point to give charity to the less fortunate people. Many Muslim organisations like the masjid youth community will coordinate their efforts and provide meals for sahoor, namely ‘sahoor on the road’, as well as for Iftar.
One thing that I always miss about Ramadhan is hearing the shalawat and prayers from the masjid during the tarawih session. I also like seeing so many people browsing the market food stalls for their iftar meals. In this city, you can also go to the beach to have your iftar while enjoying the sunset, which I think is just awesome!"
Riska Iwantoni, also known as Iwan, is from Gayo Lues, Aceh. He’s also a staff member of Global Ehsan Relief Indonesia, serving as an Assistant Media Officer.
"I grew up in my hometown, living with my parents until I graduated from high school. Those 17 years in the family environment were very memorable, especially during Ramadhan. But now with education and work, it’s rare for me to spend my Ramadhan with my family because of the distance.
I’m currently living alone in Banda Aceh, hence I rely on the bazaar and markets for my iftar menu. Once in a while, I will also make my own meals for Iftar and sahoor.
Alhamdulillah, the food here has a lot of variety that you can choose from according to your tastes and needs. A lot of people sell food during Ramadan. There are also many activities at the masjids; you can even get iftar for free at some of them!
Almost every masjid has iftar jama’i (mass iftar) for their visitors, facilitated by the masjid administrators. In addition, there are food stalls and cafes to be found. These places are always filled with family, friends, and co-workers who want to have iftar together.
Where I live, tarawih is done as usual. I love that there’s so many charitable activities such as food alms, takjil, and Quran recitations which are carried out by the community on the main roads. What I like the most about Ramadan is the closeness of companionship, especially when breaking the fast together."