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

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.