A man plays with fire on a festive Ramadan float as it drives through a street in East Jerusalem to bring celebrations to people under coronavirus disease (COVID-19) movement restrictions
A man plays with fire on a festive Ramadan float as it drives through a street in East Jerusalem to bring celebrations to people under movement restrictions
Photo: Reuters
A man plays with fire on a festive Ramadan float as it drives through a street in East Jerusalem

With fire and music, performers bring Ramadan to fun-starved Jerusalem

As virus dampens mood of the holy month, youth group decides to bring cheer to the residents of East Jerusalem by driving around the neighborhoods on lit wagon topped by a Ramadan Fanoos

Reuters |
Published: 05.04.20 , 20:03
Fire leaped from the masked performer's twirling baton as the festive Ramadan float drove through the back streets of East Jerusalem, with children cheering and parents watching from balconies.
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  • On the side of the wagon was the message "Stay at home in your house. Ramadan deserves it."
    A man plays with fire on a festive Ramadan float as it drives through a street in East Jerusalem to bring celebrations to people under coronavirus disease (COVID-19) movement restrictions A man plays with fire on a festive Ramadan float as it drives through a street in East Jerusalem to bring celebrations to people under coronavirus disease (COVID-19) movement restrictions
    A man plays with fire on a festive Ramadan float as it drives through a street in East Jerusalem
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Fear of the coronavirus has dampened the mood of the holy month in Jerusalem, as elsewhere, forcing Muslims to rethink traditions and find new approaches to religious and social rituals.
    Amid movement restrictions, partial lockdowns and the suspension of public prayers at mosques - including Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock - Al-Baha youth group realized there was little chance of audiences returning soon to their social and cultural shows.
    A festive Ramadan float play music as it drives through a street in East Jerusalem A festive Ramadan float play music as it drives through a street in East Jerusalem
    A festive Ramadan float play music as it drives through a street in East Jerusalem
    (Photo: Reuters)
    So this year, each night after iftar, they hitch a car to a festively lit wagon topped by a Ramadan Fanoos (lantern) and drive around the streets of East Jerusalem neighborhoods such as Sheikh Jarrah, with musicians playing and singing Ramadan songs beneath street decorations.
    A festive Ramadan float drives through a street in East Jerusalem A festive Ramadan float drives through a street in East Jerusalem
    A festive Ramadan float drives through a street in East Jerusalem
    (Photo: Reuters)
    "To be with the people and deliver happiness to them is a joy for me," said Wael Abu Saloum, 40, a musician and artist.
    Children watch as a festive Ramadan float drives through a street in East Jerusalem Children watch as a festive Ramadan float drives through a street in East Jerusalem
    Children watch as a festive Ramadan float drives through a street in East Jerusalem
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Some of the audience wore masks. Most stayed near their gates, but children ran alongside the float and families followed in cars as the procession snaked through back streets.
    "It's so beautiful what they are doing," said Abed al-Karaki, 29, in Beit Hanina neighborhood. "For two months all the boys and girls have had to stay at home since what happened with coronavirus."

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