Ramadan in Ghat, the Libyan South

Libya is one of the most diverse countries in the region, it is rich in tradition and culture which makes it unique and different. And in Ramadan, each city has its own traditions to celebrate the holy month with their loved ones. Regardless of the modern age we live in, so many still preserve the heritage left for them by their ancestors for years. 

As a Libyan, I am not fully informative of the Libyan traditions across the country, especially, in the south. So, I reached out to a journalist named Aziz from Ghat for more information. Aziz has been highlighting the area on his Twitter account to let the world acknowledge the beauty it holds. Ghat is located in the southwestern of  the Fezzan region. It has a hot climate but it has been an attraction for tourism but post the revolution; the numbers decreased drastically.

Grains soup
In addition to the simple lifestyle there; people still practice the same traditions for decades and in Ramadan, there is no exception. Iftar does not exceed dates, milk, and a special juice made of dates (It is called Lukku) for all Tuwarig of Ghat. The main course consists of grains soup and it is called Al-Alliwa in native language which made of grounded grains and mixed up with hot water until it thickens up. Dried meat is added such as dear or Barbary sheep if available. It is considered an essential component at Iftar due to its high nutritional value.

The process of making Lukku
One of the highlights during Ramadan is making a dish called Tarkeet which is date paste made in a special way. First, dry date is cleaned up and smashed using a specific instrument Twarig call Tindi. Second, the mix is sifted and then soaked up in water and mixed up with a verity of special spices like ginger and other local herbs that are grown in the desert. After that, cheese can be added and this type of cheese is made by people of the Saharan desert. Lastly, when the dough mix is fully combined; it is wrapped up into a cylinder or circle shape and cover it with powdered cane to keep it for long time. This can be either eaten or as a drink but people in Ghat are used to drink it which is by melting it in cold water and in this case, it is called date Juice or lukku in the native language

People’s lifestyle doesn’t change much in Ramadan in terms of work and daily routine but mosques, in particular, play a great role in raising awareness and educating lessons. For example, Quran recitation, lectures, and educational circles and so. However, women mostly take care of the house, Iftar and Suhour preparations every day throughout the month since it’s a daunting task and it takes a long period of time. 

Children in Ghat have an amazing tradition on the 15th of Ramadan. T-shicken-da-bou is a tradition that was founded in the 19th century where children go out knocking on doors and repeating lines about the importance of giving and helping those in need while drumming on old steel pots. People give money to those kids and they, in return, give it to those in need. It’s such an inspiring act for other people especially in Ramadan, the month of kindness and forgiveness and it teaches kids to give back and help others.


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