Translator: Fatıma Nur Dinçer
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, your Ramadan months for the last 2 years have been quite different from how we normally know them to be. Unfortunately, the usual congregations which bring us together, such as meeting in mosques during the prayers of Tarawih and having large iftar and sahur visits, cannot be held this year. Of course, this situation is not unique to our country, the majority of countries have to put up with similar restrictions. With these restrictions, in Dearborn, Michigan, Muslims have started a new tradition for Ramadan; a Ramadan lights contest.
The Ramadan Lights contest carried out during the Pandemic
With the Ramadan lights contest, people decorate their houses to match the spirit of the holy month. Homes here are decorated with; lanterns, colored lights, and decorative signs by the residents. They nominate their own homes or neighboring houses which they have visually liked, by filling out forms online. Then the candidate homes are voted on, the final is conducted with 10 finalist homes, and the winner is announced just before Eid day. The winner is rewarded with a gift card at a local restaurant. The effort shown throughout the entire competition process lifts spirits and people find a source of motivation for themselves.
The Effect of the Ramadan Lights contest
In addition, the city of Dearborn, where the lights contest takes place, is home to one of the largest Muslim populations in the United States. In fact, the region is considered the capital of Arabs in America. Therefore, it is inevitable that the contest, which is the scene of fun scenes in this city, will have positive results. The tradition which has been uncovered and created without violating the rules of the corona; also exemplifies the surrounding cities. Not only are social distancing rules not preached, but it also brings excitement that will bring Muslims together. In Dearborn, the spirit of Ramadan is being kept alive in this way.
The Ramadan Light contest has taken its place in a documentary
Razi Jafri, a documentary filmmaker at the Center for Arab American Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, featured this unique contest, in her documentary film, which deals with the lives of Muslims living in the Southern Michigan region. Jafri told CNN, “It’s incredible because both Muslims and non-Muslims in the community are very excited about this contest. We’ve already had a lot of positive feedback from this.”.