The upside-down days of Ramadan

We're pleased to present another guest post by our contributor in San'a. This post explains how life during the holy month of Ramadan traditionally differs from the rest of the year for Yemenis.

The holy month of Ramadan is an occasion to live differently, in the full sense of the word. Thirty days of extraordinary nights and days. Everything about this month is exciting: receiving it, living it, and finally bidding farewell.

Ya nafs ma tishtahi: a pre-Ramadan tradition

This post comes from a guest contributor in San'a, who writes anonymously for personal and professional reasons.

In Yemen, on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan, many Yemenis gather with friends and family for a special celebration called “Ya nafs ma tishtahi,” which can be translated as, “Oh self, what do you desire?” It is a social tradition in which friends, loved ones, or colleagues gather to meet their collective wishes of food and beverages. Every attendee brings a dish, with gatherings often featuring dozens of types of sweets, cakes, traditional and foreign dishes, and all variety of drinks and beverages. The event lasts for at least 5 hours, during which attendees eat, chat, dance, play games, and even present some comedic skits.