Echoes from the past

It was a cold November evening towards the end of Ramzan and we were strolling along the dew drenched lawns bounding the Al Buhaira Corniche in Sharjah. The whole place had been magically transformed with bright and colourful lights and resembled a scene straight out of a children’s fairytale story.

Every year during Ramzan, Buhaira Corniche wore a festive air. After following a rigorous fasting regimen throughout the day, the faithful liked to break their fast and have their ‘iftar’ meals on the lawns edging Corniche. Towards evening just before the ‘Maghreb’ prayers whole families used to spill out of large SUVs, unfurling reed mats out on the emerald green lawns and unpacking large baskets overflowing with food.

Soon lawn chairs and BBQ grills would to be set up along the spots which promised the best views of the fireworks’ display slotted for the night. After settling down on their little patch of lawn, the men would roll out their prayer mats and offer Maghreb prayers. The ladies meanwhile were busy laying out the iftar meal. Children could be seen playing tag with each other, or roller skating along the cement pathways next to the lawns.

Soon the lone thread of a muezzins call for prayer (azan) could be heard above the general din. This was soon followed by a chorus of prayer calls from the surrounding mosques. Once the Maghreb prayers were completed the fast was broken with a couple of dates. This was followed by watermelon juice after which people tucked into a sumptuous feast replete with mezzeh, hareez, rice and meat dishes and sweets like baklawa and kunafa.

After their iftar meals people could be seen milling around gaily decorated ice cream vans parked at regular intervals throughout the Corniche. Walking under the date palms festooned with green and blue fairy light people would stop by cloth tents selling jewellry, knick knacks and toys. Balloon sellers dotted the lawns with their vivid helium balloons.

Finally a spectacular fireworks display would lit up the heavens marking the end of another wonderful evening spent on the Corniche lawns enjoying an iftar meal with our global family.

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