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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Ramadan Cannon


The last minute before Iftar in Tartous is a moment of intense anticipation. Fathers with their children wait in the cool of the day at the northern side of the Kornish (The sea esplanade) to watch the firing of the cannon. A 2" cast iron tube is inserted in a barrel filled with sand and a dynamite bomb of some sort is placed inside the tube (mortar like). The cannon man (as he's known) keeps an eye on the Baladiet Mosque Minaret for the signal (Green fluorescent lights) to light a cigarette, take a short drag and puts the wick on fire. With the explosion comes the words from the Muezzin: Allah Akbar (God is Greatest) indicating the end of fasting and everyone hurries home to grab their first bite after long hours of waiting with the rest of the family at the Iftar table.
Just another day of Ramadan 2006 in Tartous, Syria.

13 comments:

Ascribo said...

What a sweet post! It reminded me of those days when I used to go past the "cannon man" in a hurry on my bike carrying hot Hommos and cold Kharnoub bottles. It's the first time I notice the green lights though!

I really miss you all !

abufares said...

Ascribo
Years, and I mean many many years ago, there was a high metal tower near the spot of the cannon, which used to be 50 m to the northeast before Tartous took another bite out of the sea. I climbed it to be able to better view the projectile as it exploded in the sky. Once I got all the way to the top, my legs froze and for the first and only time in my life, I really experienced altophobia.
It took me forever to get down again. I got on my red bike and headed home without Hommos, without Kharnoub.
Despite!!!
I miss that tower along with everything that was and is no more in Tartous.

Omar said...

akh ya abufares..
You have no idea how much I long for Ramadan, and all it's wonderful rituals. Thanks for the nice video

abufares said...

You are welcome Omar
I know how much this short clip would mean to those of us dispersed across the four corners of the world away from home. This is what I had in mind when I shot it. I will post a few more of these glimpses of "home" in the days to come.
Salam my friend.

I love Munich said...

What a GREAT clip Abufares!! Not only were you the first who told me about this custom which I find absolutely stunning, now I was able to even SEE it ... I guess it's my kind of day today!!

I love this custom! The "Sphinx" told me today it id practized as well in Cairo ... I had never heard of that before!

WONDERFUL clip dear friend ... thanks so much for sharing!! :)

abufares said...

Hi Karin
I'm delighted that you liked the clip. All I can do is promise more. I'll try to make other clips of Ramdaniat Tartous.
Thank you for your visit.

Kassar Alzabadi said...

As usual, a wonderful post!

Thank you abufares!

abufares said...

Dear Kassar Al Zabadi

Thank you for reading and watching. I'm glad you liked it.
Drop in again, anytime.

Sam... said...

Thanks Abufares for the clip,...
you reminded me of my childhood when i used to go and watch cannon launch every day of ramadan..... at the park near my house in damascus...
Thanks

abufares said...

Hi Sam
I'm very glad you liked the clip.
I hope I can come up with something even better during the rest of Ramadan.

Anonymous said...

Nice one as usual Abufares!! Yes the cannon is in Lebanon as well and I miss it. I remember we used to stand on the balcony with one bite of something and/or a drink waiting for the cannon. We used to see the smoke of the blast before we hear the actual blast. One thing I wonder though, the cannon man lights a cigarette to light the wick, that means he breaks his fast before the cannon blast??!!
Regards, Abu Abdo

abufares said...

Hi Abu Abdo
OK Mr.Details, The cannon man was loitering around the cannon. The minaret's green fluorescent lights came on, he lit his match (or cheap Chinese lighter). The Muezzin Chanted "AL..", the cannon man brings the light to his cigarette, "..Ah Ak.." He inhales the smoke and brings his cigarette to the wick, "..Bar", the first charge is set and we hear a small explosion, the cannon man is exhaling the smoke already.
So in essense, the cannon is fired only after the Muezzin commences the Azan, and not a second before.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, now I feel much better.
Abu Abdo