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The Month of Ramadan: A Tribute to My Parents and My Grandmother

The lilting calls of the Muezzin

before daybreak

wafting through the still air

early in the morning hours.

Na Ni with tasbih in hand

waking up children

for a feast before the fast

all stumbling back to bed after prayers.

Reciting the QURAN from cover to cover,

saying Salaat in unison five times a day,

cooking, preparing delicious dishes,

exchanging meals with neighbors

to break the fast at dusk.

In the evening

Mosques filled with food

for everyone, rich and poor,

mouth-watering dishes, sweets, delicacies

sold in makeshift stalls

available only once a year.

Fervent prayers throughout

the twenty-seventh night

called Laylat al-Qadr

when angels from heaven descended

to accept prayers from mankind.

Twenty-nine, thirty days of steadfastness.

Everyone clamors, peers towards the sky

for the sight

of a sliver

of the first moon

confirming the end of RAMADAN.

Cleaning, cooking, sewing,

pulling an all-nighter,

everyone preparing for the feast

called Eid-Al-Fitr.

Children, adults, all decked in fineries

bejeweled from head to toe

in dresses, outfits, shawls, topees with detailed embroideries,

a kaleidoscope of colors

gather after prayers.

Visiting home after home,

rejoicing, feasting, mingling,

jubilation, laughter, happiness

amongst friends, relatives, and families,

creating memories

. . . lasting the length of a lifetime.


Na Ni: Granma

tasbih: prayer beads

topees: caps

Poem: MIMI OO has worked in Saint Paul for more than ten years professionally as well as with the refugee community. She wrote “The Month of Ramadan” in tribute to her grandma and parents, in hopes that the poem will serve as a vehicle for the immigrant and refugee Islamic community to fill their void and create new traditions in their home called “Saint Paul.”

Photo: Nadia Linoo


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