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Muslim festivities start: Ramadan month begins for two million Spanish residents
16 April 2021 @ 17:39

SPAIN'S two-million-strong community of Muslims started celebrating the festive month of Ramadan on Tuesday, and tomorrow (Friday) is the first holy day of the holidays – another which will see major restrictions.

Last year brought the first Ramadan in full lockdown in living memory, meaning mosques were shut, so the five daily prayers all had to be performed at home, and families and friends were unable to join each other for post-sunset meals or the major party on the last day, Eid ul-fitr, unless they lived in the same household.

The Eid morning mass prayer, or Masal-la – which, in the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, are public outdoor events taking place in the harbour with free shuttle-buses thrown on by the councils – did not happen.

This year will not involve quite such a drastic impact on the festivities – in most regions, up to a maximum of two households can meet up in private homes, and mosques, which act as local community centres and charity headquarters as well as places of worship, are open, albeit with numbers limited.

Spain's Islamic Commission has issued a public announcement urging the community to continue to follow health authority recommendations for virus prevention and safety, and in particular, to avoid crowds or mass gatherings.

Whilst they can go to mosque this year, Muslims are asked to keep the time they spend inside them to a minimum and, for the traditional tarawih or group prayer sessions (pictured above), to check restrictions in place in their region, including the curfew, and numbers allowed in indoor spaces.

As the prayer happens after sunset, the curfew – currently 22.00 or 23.00, depending upon region – may 'get in the way', so the Islamic Commission says anyone who will be unable to complete their prayers and return home in time should practise the tarawih at home.

Although families tend to celebrate the iftar, or post-sunset evening meal to break the daily fast, at home together, public ones often take place in mosques, but this year, the Islamic Commission has strongly advised against doing so in order to prevent possible contagion.



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