Thursday, 29 February 2024 09:27

Ramadan in Canada: The Moroccan community is deeply attached to tradition within its North American life experience

Friday, 03 July 2015

With the advent of the holy month of Ramadan, which has a very special place in the hearts and minds of all Muslims, the Moroccan Diaspora in Canada is eager to recreate in its new North American living environment the pure traditions and rituals that characterize this blessed month in the Motherland.

This deep attachment to tradition is a way for Moroccans in Canada to appease the immeasurable longing shared by the majority of expatriates who remember during every religious feast (especially Ramadan, Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha) family warmth and the friendly atmosphere to which they were accustomed to in Morocco before deciding to cross the Atlantic.

Despite living in a socio-cultural environment different from their country of origin, the members of the Muslim community, including Morocco, are working hard to preserve, despite the distance, habits and customs related to breaking the fast in "the land of the maple leaf," reviving the cultural, ethnic and religious practices specific to this month of blessings, self-improvement quest and meditation.

In fact, Ramadan has a special significance for all Muslims in Canada, estimated at over one million people, mostly from North African countries, the Middle East and South Asia, nearly 110,000 Moroccans are mainly established in the Province of Quebec and particularly in the metropolitan area of ​​Montreal.

Aware every year of the importance of such unique and sacred moment for the Muslim community, supermarkets and hypermarkets in neighborhoods of Montreal double their efforts to present a wide range of indispensable products for breaking the fast, such as dates and other dried fruits, eggs, vegetables essential for Moroccan families for the preparation of the "Harira" a must in all Iftar tables, various juices and dairy products, not to mention all kinds of spices and other food items, all at promotional prices to meet every budget.

The managers of these shops and halal butchers also are working extra hard to provide, to the delight of their customers, a wide selection and variety of halal meat and sausage products as well as fresh and frozen seafood at the best price market, to prepare tasty dishes for dinner or "shour".

The bakeries, too, take the opportunity and compete to conquer their habitual or new clientele, Muslim or Western, by displaying cakes and pastries all day, "chhiouates" and sweet and savory delights with pure Moroccan, Maghreb and oriental flavors, prepared especially for Ramadan to satisfy all tastes.

These delicacies that feast the eyes, remind every Muslim migrant, whether Moroccan or of another nationality, of the dishes and delicious cakes that adorn the tables of ftour in their home countries during the month of meditation and mercy, as the chebbakia, Briouates, Msemen, Sellou, Baklava, Bassboussa, Mekrout with dates, el Kalb louz, Kounafeh, ECHAM Balah, Kataif, are seen everywhere.

Although Ramadan in Canada in recent years coincides with the summer marked by heat and long days of abstinence (almost 18 hours), Moroccan workers and those of other Arab and Muslim countries are trying to adjust to this reality which is sometimes hard, given the nature of the work, and the physical effort required in certain occupations.

Moreover, the month of Ramadan, which exalts since the beginning of time the noble Islamic values ​​of solidarity, brotherhood and reconciliation, is an opportunity to organize collective Iftars at the initiative of several Moroccan and Arab-Muslim associations to perpetuate the teachings of Islam which calls for generosity and social assistance.

These iftars, who gather around the same table people with different religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds are the true testimony of the interreligious values and harmony that characterize the Muslim society in this month of mercy.

In this same spirit of beneficence and promptness in the performance of good works, several funds and food collection campaigns are organized to help needy families and the disadvantaged.

Moreover, with Ramadan, thousands of faithful invest mosques and prayer rooms in order to perform, giving a sense of piety and tranquility, the prayers of Al-Ichaa and those of Tarawih, and listen to verses of the Holy Koran in a cohesive spiritual atmosphere.

These faithful are often accompanied to accomplish this nightly ritual by their young offspring in whom they want to instill at a young age the joy, fervor and rigor that animate all Muslims during the holy month and the good values ​​of the Holy religion such as patience, peace, altruism, emulation in performing good deeds and compassion for the poor.

At the same time, several associations and Islamic cultural centers organize lectures and panel discussions focused primarily on the values ​​of Islam, the virtues of Ramadan and benefits of fasting, and of the Holy memorization contest of the Koran.

In Canada, as elsewhere in the countries of migration, Ramadan brings a lot of changes in the behavior and habits experienced daily by Moroccan expatriates, those living in "the land of the maple leaf" start to overcome the disorientation and recreate a little bit, the convivial atmosphere of Ramadan, special and unique to that of the Motherland.

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