Dana and Daria were visiting the bustling city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with their parents during the month of Ramadan. The siblings were devout Muslims, and they always looked forward to this month of fasting, prayer, and charity.
Fasting all day long,
Night brings joyous Iftar feast,
Ramadan is here!
Dana and Daria Start a Day of Fasting and Devotion
As the sun rose in the sky, Dana and Daria woke up early to partake in the pre-dawn meal, known as suhoor. Their mother had prepared a delicious meal of oatmeal porridge, scrambled eggs, and hot tea, which the siblings enjoyed before starting their day-long fast.
Throughout the day, the siblings continued with their regular activities, but with a greater sense of spirituality and self-discipline. They went to school and attended classes, but they remained mindful of their fast and tried their best to stay focused and energized.
When Dana and Daria came back from school, they were surprised to receive an unexpected visit from their grandparents, who was visiting a nearby town.
The siblings were overjoyed to see their grandparents, whom they had not seen for a long time. They spent the day with the siblings, helping them with their prayers and sharing stories about their own experiences of Ramadan.
Dana and Daria had hung colorful lanterns hanging outside their home giving a festive air to the month of Ramadan. These lanterns in Ethiopia are traditionally called “fano” and are meant to symbolize the light of the Quran, the holy book of Islam.
When Daria had gone to the shop the day before, all the fano lanterns had been sold out. So she had decided to make her own fano lantern from scratch. She gathered colorful paper, glue, and a candle and set to work.Dana offered to help her and together they poured all their love and creativity into their task, infusing it with the spirit of the holy month.
When the sun began to set, Daria lit her fano lantern and hung it outside her home, joining the other beautiful lanterns that dotted the village. And to her amazement, her lantern shone just as brightly as the others, filling her heart with joy and pride.
As the sun began to set, Dana and Daria eagerly awaited the call to prayer, signaling the end of the fast. They sat together, eagerly anticipating the moment when they could break their fast.
Their mother had prepared an extra special feast to celebrate the surprise visit of the grandparents.
A delicious meal of traditional Ethiopian dishes, such as injera, a spongy sourdough flatbread, and various stews and curries, awaited the family. She had also prepared talbinah,” which is a sweet porridge made from barley flour, milk, and honey.
According to Islamic tradition, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) reportedly said, “Talbinah soothes the heart of the patient and relieves him from some of his sadness.” As a result, talbinah has become a popular dessert among Muslims on all occasions.
As soon as the call to prayer was heard, the siblings said Bismillah, took a sip of water and ate a date, in accordance with the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
Sharing Memories of Ramadan
As Dana, Daria, and their grandparents enjoyed the delicious iftar feast, they engaged in a fun conversation about their favorite memories of Ramadan.
Dana and Daria’s grandparents shared stories of how they used to celebrate Ramadan when they were young, and the siblings listened attentively, fascinated by their grandparents’ experiences.
Their grandfather told them about how he used to fast during Ramadan even when he was a young boy, and how he would spend hours reading the Quran and reflecting on his faith. He also told them about the Ramadan traditions in his village, such as lighting lanterns and sharing meals with neighbors.
Their grandmother shared a funny story about how she accidentally broke her fast with a sip of water instead of a date, and everyone laughed at her mistake.
Dana and Daria also shared their favorite memories of Ramadan, such as the time they volunteered at a local charity and helped distribute food to the needy during Ramadan. They also talked about their favorite foods during iftar, and how they loved to break their fast with dates and sweet pastries.
The conversation was filled with laughter and joy, and the siblings felt grateful to be spending Ramadan with their grandparents. As the night drew to a close, they all continued with their prayers, feeling connected to each other and their faith.
The fun conversation reminded them that Ramadan was not just about fasting and prayers, but also about coming together as a family and community to celebrate the blessings of the holy month.
After iftar, the family continued with their nightly prayers, and the siblings felt grateful for the surprise visit of their grandparents. It was a reminder that Ramadan was not just about self-discipline and spirituality, but also about family and community.
Running in Ramadan
Dana playfully suggested to his parents that he should skip school and rest during Ramadan.
Grandpa then gently admonished him: “Fasting doesn’t really mean staying at home and resting. Our bodies quickly able to adapt the change in time for eating and drinking and are able to go about their daily life with ease.”
Another Happy Day Draws to a Close
During Ramadan, Dana and Daria’s family also made sure to engage in charitable activities, such as giving food and donations to the less fortunate in their community.
As the night drew to a close, Dana and Daria went to bed feeling fulfilled and grateful for the opportunity to participate in Ramadan. They knew that the month would continue to challenge them, but they were determined to maintain their discipline and commitment to their faith throughout the month.
Notes on Ethiopian Food for Iftar
In Ethiopia, coffee is considered a symbol of hospitality and friendship. During Ramadan after iftar, families and friends often gather for coffee, which involves roasting and brewing fresh coffee beans and serving it with traditional snacks like popcorn and peanuts.
Injera is a traditional Ethiopian flatbread made from teff flour. It is a staple food in Ethiopian cuisine and is often eaten during Iftar, the evening meal that breaks the fast during Ramadan.
How to prepare Injera with teff grains.
What is teff? Teff is a small, gluten-free grain that is native to Ethiopia and Eritrea. It is a staple food in these countries and is often used to make injera, a traditional Ethiopian flatbread. Teff is available in health food stores and some grocery stores, and is often sold as whole grain or as flour.
How is injera different from naan? One important difference between injera and naan is that injera is traditionally made from gluten-free teff flour, while naan is made from wheat flour, which contains gluten. This makes injera a great option for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease, while naan may not be suitable for those with gluten-related health issues.
When you take a bite of injera, you’ll feel its unique texture in your mouth – the slight chewiness, the sponginess, and the tangy taste all blend together to create a flavor sensation that is truly special. Its flavor and texture make it the perfect complement to spicy stews and curries,
Injera is special not only for its taste and texture, but also for its cultural significance. It is a symbol of community and sharing in Ethiopian and Eritrean cultures, as it is often eaten communally from a large platter. In fact, it is traditional to use injera to scoop up bites of food and share them with others.
2 cups of teff flour
3 cups of water
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
Salt to taste
In a large bowl, mix the teff flour with 2 cups of water and stir well. Cover the bowl with a cloth and let it sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours to ferment. The longer the batter ferments, the more sour it becomes.
After fermentation, add 1 cup of water, baking soda, and salt to the batter and mix well. The batter should have a thin, pourable consistency.
Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Using a ladle or measuring cup, pour the batter onto the pan to make a thin, circular shape. The batter will spread on its own.
Cover the pan with a lid and let the injera cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the surface is covered in small holes and the edges are lifted.
Remove the injera from the pan and repeat the process until all the batter is used up. Stack the injera on top of each other to keep them soft and warm.
Serve the injera with your choice of stews or curries, using torn pieces of injera to scoop up the food.
Enjoy your delicious homemade injera, a staple of Ethiopian cuisine!
During their childhood, Dana and Daria spent a significant amount of time on their grandfather’s farm, where they developed a love for nature and learned the importance of hard work.
Their wise grandfather would captivate them with stories from Islamic culture and the lives of Sufi saints, which had a profound impact on the siblings and instilled in them a deep respect for moral values such as truthfulness.
Grandpa’s cherished stories are curated in the book series “Grandpa’s Farm Stories,” which offers an insightful glimpse into the Islamic culture and its rich tradition of storytelling.