By Montaha Al-Fadli KUWAIT, Sept 1 (KUNA) -- With all the civilization and modernity we are witnessing, there is always that feeling of nostalgia, where we enjoy talking about the old times, such as remembering the beautiful memories of Ramadan, specially in the old Kuwait like using Ramadan canon.
There is a number of narrations of the early beginnings of using Ramadan canon, which is a traditional way to announce the time of fast breaking for the Muslims at dusk.
One said the late Egyptian ruler Mohammed Ali Pasha ordered purchase a new military canon. On one day in the Holy month of Ramadan, it was tested and the big bang rumbled, coinciding with the fast breaking at sunset.
People liked the coincidence, thus they asked Ali Pasha to fire the cannon at dusk and dawn, announcing the times of fast breaking and starting the fast. Since then it has become a tradition, connected to Ramadan.
Another famous story said in the year 859 of the Islamic calendar, An Ottoman ruler, called Khooshghadam, who was in control of Egypt, ordered his soldier to test a new canon, which was offered from a German friend. This also happened at the time of the sunset, prompting many Egyptians to think that it was a new tradition, but this was not done anew.
Some of religious scholars and dignitaries went to meet the ruler to ask him to keep this tradition, but they did not find him, and they met his wife instead, which made some people call the canon as "Hajah Fatma".
About the use of Ramadan canon in Kuwait, the researcher in folklore, Ahmed Bin Barjas, said that Ramadan cannon firing is a tradition of this holy month that started in the Egyptian capital Cairo, and spread later to some Arab countries.
He added in an interview with Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) that a man called Fayed was in charge of Ramadan canon till the 30s of last century, and was followed by Ibn Eqab, who was an owner of a famous coffee shop located northern Souq Al-Beshoot, a market for old Kuwaiti custom for men.
He added that Ibn Eqab was presenting his coffee to bedouins and before sun-set, he fetched a pole with a small ball at its head, and carried it on his shoulder. He started to walks, passing by Al-Mubarakeyah square through Al-Amir street in the Grand Mosque market, and kept walking till Al-Seif Palace passing by the gate of the old Kuwait city, until he reached Al-Bunaiderah square.
He mentioned that once Ibn Eqab reached a chamber of tin with tow big doors, one of them was big and overlooked the sea, while the other was small, overlooking the desert. Inside, there was a canon with big brink. He filled it with gunpowder, and then pushed it outside using the pole as he proceeded for a long way.
After that, he collected old pieces of old rags from the beach, squeezed them into the barrel of the cannon. Then, he added gunpowder into a small hole, reaching the bag of the gunpowder. Some people shouted, saying: "Ibn Eqab, the sound of the canon's firing was low yesterday." He answered, "Today you will hear a very loud sound." He said Ibn Eqab by sunset fired the gunpowder, causing a thundering sound that echoed to all the neighborhoods of old Kuwait.
Ibn Barjas said on a daily basis by the dusk, children enjoy the sound of Ramadan canon, which they call (Alwardah), where they gather around it at the time of firing at sundown.
Now, the canon is located at Nayef Palace. It was given to Kuwait as a present from Bahrain in 1992.
This English-made artillery, that weighs 25 pounds, is fired once daily, specifically at the time of (Al-magreb prayer) at sunset, under the supervision of one officer and three privates. The firing is broadcast live on television.
Starting from this Ramadan, 2,000 person are to be allowed entry into Nayef Palace to witness the canon tradition.(end) KUNA 011338 Sep 08NNNN