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Ramadan (Bulan Puasa)
Ramadan will soon arrive. The time that is always waited for by the Muslims every year. Like many other Muslims, I am always happy to greet Ramadan, for there are so many special senses that I cannot get in the other months. I miss how Ramadan made me feel. I feel the sense of atonement when hearing somebody reciting Qur'an in the middle of the night, the sense of unity when doing Tarawih prayer though in a small mosque, the sense of more contemplations in my five daily prayers, and many other religious things that lead me to raise my Iman. I don't know how Ramadan is celebrated in the other parts of the world, but here in Indonesia, we make it special. Children and teenagers gather at around 2 am; bringing some torches, and walking around the village to wake up the people for Sahoor ( the meals that are consumed early in the morning before fasting). They joyfully wake the people up by saying "sahoor...sahoor" in a particular rhythm that sometimes sounds like an uncomposed song. Ramadan nights are always different; I find more people still awake at night no matter what the activities they are involved in, but mostly they do the positive things either in a mosque, or at home. Another interesting thing from Ramadan is its cuisine. In the late afternoon before the sun is about to set, there are so many street foods are being offered. The vendors sell what Indonesians call "Ta'jil", kinds of foods or snacks that people look forward to for the Iftar (break fasting after sunset). Mostly they sell Kolak (Indonesian traditional dessert made from the coconut oil and the palm sugar, combined with pandanus leaves to give the natural aroma. Kolak contains the slices of bananas, sweet potatoes, jack fruit, and cassava. It is tasty and sweet and better to be served with some ice blocks), they also sell gorengan (Indonesian assorted fritters), and Lontong, not lontong sayur that is served with coconut milk soup, but Lontong in a smaller size that is filled with diced vegetables, potatoes and carrots that have been sauted and seasoned with some spices. Lontong is wrapped with banana leaves and steamed. It is better to be served with sambal kacang ( Indonesian peanut sauce). We enjoy our afternoon buying those simple foods, while others prepare for the Iftar. When The Adhaan is being called, we happily enjoy our meals as it is remarked that the sun is set and we are allowed to break our fasting Hopefully I will still be able to see Ramadan this year.
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