Posted on Flickr by Raaid.
The month of Ramadan starts tomorrow (22 August). We asked our Observers from Algeria to Iraq to tell us what goes on in their country.
Ramadan is a month of fasting for Muslims. That means that between sunrise and sunset, you can't drink, you can't eat, and you can't have sex. Fasting is an exercise in purification. It's a demonstration of obedience to god, and a way of heightening your piety by following the ways of the prophets. Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with the profession of faith, praying, giving to charity and making the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Certain aspects of the celebration are found in most Muslim countries, for example, breaking the fast by eating dates. But there are also traditions that come with the event specific to each country. A few of our Observers tell us about their own Ramadan.
EGYPT: Asser Yasser is a blogger and stay-at-home mother from Cairo.
We also have to get the eating plan sorted out. I've already bought dried fruits - figs, dates, raisons, dried apricots - that I need for the Ramadan pastries, the famous ‘Kénéfé' cheesecakes.
We look after ourselves and we're more pious during Ramadan. There are more family gatherings and dinners between friends during this period."
ALGERIA: Fayçal Ouaret is a writer and architect. He lives in the city of Setif, 300km east of Alger.
The busy night life obviously has an effect on daytime activities. We start work an hour later during Ramadan."
COMOROS: Mohammed Abdelkader is a journalist from the Comoran capital Moroni.
After that everyone heads home to have a feast of fish, meat skewers, fried bananas, grilled manioc [cassava root], tea with milk and thyme pancakes cooked in butter which we call ‘couscouma'.
For newlyweds, it's the time when you invite the husband's family and friends to the house. I say husband because in Comoros it's the woman's family who provides the home when a couple marry."
IRAQ: Haydar Aloui runs a clothes shop in Baghdad.
There's a very popular game that we play during Ramadan here called "the ring game". Two teams of 10 to 20 people get together. You have to hand over your rings to one of the members of your team and then the other team has to guess who is hiding them. People usually give themselves away by blushing.
The media also put on special programming. There are many funny reality-TV programmes which run in collaboration with local banks to raise money for people who were displaced during the war."