Source: Daily Graphic Ghana - Muslims all over the world go through feverish preparations towards the end of the 30-day Ramadan (fasting) that ushers in the celebrations of Eid-ul-Fitr and the renewal of the Islamic calendar year.
The role of Muslim women, who roll up their sleeves to throw away the old, unwanted stuff, to organise the closets and cabinets, and to clean up the house in the final days of the month of Ramadan, in preparation of the New Year, cannot be overemphasised.
Cooking special meals for the occasion and selecting the perfect outfit for children are two of the many traditions of the celebrations carried out by women.
More important is the role they play in keeping up with the new way of fashion that is either being characterised by the activities of that year or exclusively to the Muslim community.
From the selection of shoes, bags, makeup and even the perfect attire for their husbands and children, this task begins as soon as the month of Ramadan, one of the pillars of Islam, is observed.
They are glued to information on the latest trends of fashion so that they do not miss out on the colourful celebration at the end of the month.
On the last day of this year’s Ramadan, on Thursday, a walk through the busy Wednesday Market of Nima, known in the Hausa parlance as Kasoa Lariba, showed women dominating all corners of the market either holding their shopping baskets or helping their children to select the proper shoe sizes.
Some of them, who were in the company of their husbands, were seen choosing Eid clothes which are usually ready-made clothes for infants and traditional fabrics for children and adults.
They also pick out veils, a head covering material, with particular interest in the names assigned to those veils and how modern they are - of course no one wants to appear in an old-fashioned outfit.
Holding her two sons, aged four and seven, and moving through the thick crowds in Nima, Auntie Mari said her main reason for being in the market was to find some shoes and clothes designed in the Arabian style for her sons because her seamstress had disappointed her.
“It is not easy my sister. If I don’t get something done for them, you know how children are, they will feel disappointed and I will not be happy as a mother. I need to fix them something, and fast,” she said.
She went on to say, “Even if I do not get anything to wear and the children are okay, I am happy.”
Beauty and fashion
But unlike every year, this year’s trend of fashion is different and requires a lot of precision to make the right selection from the numerous materials that would mark the celebrations.
From “Dumsor”, “La Gata”, “WhatsApp” and “President” lace, women have to make some tough decisions to outdo their other female counterparts during the celebrations.
Unlike boys who are interested in getting a new haircut, for girls like Rashidatu Hussein, it is important for her to get her dresses and make-up ready, in order to look splendid for the occasion, hence her interest to shop for make-ups and some wigs to braid her hair for the big day.
Others also plait their hair and usually apply ‘henna’ (a dye prepared from a plant and used for the art of temporary tattooing the body and nails) on their hands and feet. The mothers are not left out as they undergo all forms of beauty treatment from head to toe.
Aside from those shopping for one item or the other, most women also chose to make sales during the season because according to them, everyone was out there buying items.
“You need to identify what people want and make sales, because Ramadan comes once every year so you need to use that period to make your money,” Kadija Abdullah told the Daily Graphic.
She sells veils, hijabs, make-up kits, and ‘henna’.
She started making her sales during the last 10 days of the month of Ramadan and revealed that she had already made some huge profits from her short-term business.
Eid and women
In an interview with a cross-section of Muslim men on how they saw the role of women in the festivities, Alhaji Osman Nuhu, an Islamic school teacher, said women naturally had the extra sense of putting things together to make the home a welcoming place for visitors.
“When you ask a man to prepare the home for Eid, you have given him a task he can never accomplish. But for the woman, it is a normal task,” he said.
For Moomen Seidu, women added colour and touch to the celebrations such that it was almost impossible to observe any event without them, adding, “Any Islamic celebration is worthless without women. The festivities may be held without men, but without women, never and impossible."
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