Iraq has gone through decades of turbulence and upheaval in its recent history, yet the country has managed to preserve its long-dated traditions, which become more visible during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
From their traditional al-Muhaibis game, special Ramadan food, and family gatherings, Iraqis show that their cultural heritage remains alive despite embargoes, wars and a protracted period of political and social unrest.
A grudging sense of optimism seemed to have permeated Iraqis in the early days of Ramadan with no terror attacks or car bombings. But such optimism was dashed when a series of bombings killed 18 and wounded more than 50 as people were preparing to break their holy day’s fast last Sunday.
But some Iraqis insist on defying terror and they refuse to be dragged back to the murky world of politics in their country.
Mazen, a father of three boys and one girl, said he prefers watching Ramadan entertainment television programs to following the news and the unending story of political wrangling.
Um Mohammed, an Iraqi woman, says she was more interested in her daily Ramadan activities than watching politics and news of violence.
She noted how local food products were sufficiently available in the Iraqi market during this year, Ramadan, as opposed to the previous year, in a sign that the Iraqi economy was coming back to life.
Todat when I go to the market I find that local products are available, contrary to the previous years when local products were full only with imported goods,” Um Mohammed said.
“This year, tomatoes, Watermelon and numerous fruits are available, and we prefer them because of their good taste and decent price.”