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Immerse yourself at the Lakemba Ramadan Markets

<p dir="ltr">The night markets in celebration of the holy month of Ramadan have once again hit the streets of Lakemba from 5pm till late. </p> <p dir="ltr">Popular for the street-long stalls filled with delicious dishes from different countries, the culturally diverse event is open to everyone. </p> <p dir="ltr">The markets run for a month, until the end of the Ramadan. </p> <p dir="ltr">A must go-to event, the markets are spectacular for a night out with the family and friends to culturally immerse yourself. </p> <p dir="ltr">The most talked about meal is the camel burger – which you would likely have to wait a while for, thanks to the line stretching literally hundreds of metres. But, it is totally worth it. </p> <p dir="ltr">If it’s something that you’ve always wanted to try and you want to skip the queues, then here’s a hint: head over at 5pm before those who are fasting slowly make their way over.  </p> <p dir="ltr">Other main meals could include rotis with beef or chicken curry, satay chicken skewers, or murtabak – which is a thin dough filled with eggs and onions, </p> <p dir="ltr">Of course, at every event there are chips on a stick which are a favourite for the kids. </p> <p dir="ltr">If you’re a sweet tooth, you are not short on options with stalls and stalls of knafeh, a decadent sweet cheese dish topped up with pistachio and rose water. </p> <p dir="ltr">You can also get simple desserts such as chocolate dipped strawberries, or turkish ice cream rolled through pistachios. </p> <p dir="ltr">To freshen up, you must try the fresh lemonade, or if you want something on the warmer side then try the milky drink sahlep, which is also topped with rose water. </p> <p dir="ltr">You can of course find Turkish coffee at a few stalls but otherwise, the world is your oyster at Haldon St in Lakemba. </p> <p dir="ltr">The best way to get there is by train, as there’s a stop conveniently just around the corner. Do not drive as you won’t be able to leave for a while. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Sahar Mourad</em></p>

Food & Wine

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Everything you’ve always wanted to know about Ramadan

<p>Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam and is a period of time where Muslims fast for a month and commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Prophet Muhammad.</p> <p>Muslims can enjoy a very early breakfast just before sunrise, known as “Imsaak”, before fasting for the day. When the sun sets, Muslims get together and share their first meal for the day known as “Iftar”.</p> <p>Following the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, Muslims are encouraged to break their fast with a date before enjoying the rest of the meals prepared.</p> <p>So, when does Ramadan actually begin? Muslims rely on the crescent moon sighting to determine the beginning of the holy month. This year, it is expected that Ramadan will begin on March 23, and will last for 30 days. However, some may begin their fasting on March 24.</p> <p>This year, Australian Muslims will fast longer hours for the first 10 days or so due to daylight savings, but when daylight savings ends on April 2, that will shorten the fasting day.</p> <p>While fasting, Muslims are required to abstain from food, drinks, backbiting, swearing and sexual activities. Sex, for example, is prohibited when fasting. Once the fast is broken, sex is allowed to be performed.</p> <p>Fasting is compulsory for Muslims when they reach puberty, however, some individuals are unable to fast due to disabilities, illness, old age, or pregnancy. Women who are menstruating are also not allowed to fast.</p> <p>Some of the holiest nights of the Islamic year also occur in the month of Ramadan, known as Laylat al-Qadr (night of decree). It is the night when Muslims commemorate the first revelation of the holy Quran that was sent down to Prophet Muhammad, and falls in the last 10 days of Ramadan.</p> <p>Once the 30 days of Ramadan are over, Muslims celebrate Eid with friends and family over three days with a large feast (or two), and children are gifted money and new clothing from older relatives.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Why does Ramadan fall in different seasons around the world? </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Due to the northern and southern hemisphere, Muslims around the world fast either in winter or summer.</p> <p dir="ltr">Australians and New Zealanders have been fasting during the winter months for the past few years, which counts to about 12 hours a day. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, those in the northern hemisphere have been fasting during the summertime, which means longer fasting hours.</p> <p dir="ltr">In addition to that, because Ramadan falls on a different day each year based on the Islamic calendar, those in the northern hemisphere will eventually observe Ramadan in winter and vice versa. </p> <p dir="ltr">An extra fun fact is that from 2023, Ramadan begins 10 days earlier – which means those 10 days will be longer fasting days, thanks to daylight savings. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>What is the most common question fasting Muslims are asked?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">“Not even water?”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Yes. Not even water.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>


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An especially emotional Ramadan comes to an end

<p dir="ltr">More than 600,000 Muslims across Australia and billions around the world celebrated the end of Ramadan this week.</p> <p dir="ltr">After fasting from dawn to dusk for a month, Muslim families gathered for Eid al-Fitr festitivies which go on for three days.</p> <p dir="ltr">This year’s Eid has been declared a lot more emotional following two years of restrictions which stopped families from getting together and celebrating. </p> <p dir="ltr">The morning of Eid sees worshippers head to the Mosque for the Eid prayer before wishing everyone an “Eid Mubarak” (Happy Eid). </p> <p dir="ltr">Families will gather at parks, houses, restaurants and feast on delicious foods as they commemorate the end of the holy month.</p> <p dir="ltr">Everyone is dressed in their best clothing, with young children gifted with money from their elders.</p> <p dir="ltr">Fellow worshipper Ivan Adnan was overwhelmed with emotions after being able to recite verses of the Quran and praying with members of the community. </p> <p dir="ltr">“As part of the festival, right after Eid namaz (prayers), men give each other three hugs, which in Bengali, in my language, we call it kola-koli. And women do the same with each other," he told <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">SBS News</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Last year and the year before, we couldn’t go anywhere. We couldn’t even go to prayer.”</p> <p dir="ltr">This year meant a lot to Mr Adnan who felt a stronger “connection” to his faith and God.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I felt so connected to God. And I felt so connected to my community. And I was overcome with emotion,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">The next Ramadan is expected to fall around March 22 - based on the moon sighting.</p> <p dir="ltr">You can have all your questions about Ramadan answered <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: SBS/YouTube</em></p>


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