Ramadan 2016 special: Make your own fanoos

The traditional lanterns adorn many Muslim homes during the holy month of Ramadan.

by

    Ramadan fanoos is the colourful lantern that adorns the streets of many Arab countries during the holiest month of the year for Muslims.

    In Saudi Arabia, where I spent most of my childhood, the lantern was an integral part of the Ramadan experience. Huge copper fanoos with coloured-glass windows would be erected at the gates of mosques and shopping malls. Small plastic ones filled the bustling open-air marketplaces.

    It is widely believed that the tradition originated in Egypt during the Fatimid Caliphate, where it is said the caliph was greeted at the beginning of Ramadan by lantern-carrying residents of Cairo. From there, it spread to other cities in the Islamic world - Damascus, Aleppo, Ramallah, Gaza, Amman and Riyadh, among others.

    At school in the coastal city of Jeddah, I would craft fanoos from colourful paper before returning home to string dozens of the lanterns along a piece of rope that stretched across our backyard, from one huge palm tree to another. Only a few would survive the month without being shredded by the wind or visiting crows, but to me and many others those simply made lanterns became synonymous with Ramadan.

    Show us what your homemade fanoos look like by uploading a photo to your social media account (Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter) and adding #AJFanoos


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Assassinating Kim Jong-un could go so wrong

    Assassinating Kim Jong-un could go so wrong

    The many ways in which the assassination of the North Korean leader could lead to a total disaster.

    The life and death of Salman Rushdie, gentleman author

    The life and death of Salman Rushdie, gentleman author

    The man we call 'Salman Rushdie' today is not the brilliant author of the Satanic Verses, but a Picassoesque imposter.

    Why does Israel keep attacking Syria?

    Why does Israel keep attacking Syria?

    Al Jazeera examines what is behind the cross-border violence and threats between Israel and Syria.