OIC marks International Day to Combat Islamophobia

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - JEDDAH: Alkuttab Arabic language center organized a Shabana night filled with Ramadan-related activities, with families in Saudi Arabia traditionally gathering before the holy month to celebrate.

The event included local games and a variety of food for families and friends to enjoy.

Held in Al-Balad in Jeddah, guests were welcomed with zamzam water in traditional tin cups placed on an incense burner, creating a pleasant aroma.

Alkuttab Arabic language institute organized Shabana night filled with fun activities related to Ramadan, as families in Saudi Arabia traditionally get together before Ramadan to celebrate the month of Shaban, known as Shabana. (Photo/Afshan Aziz)

Activities included bead making, an Arabic challenge for beginners and advanced learners, a calligraphy section, a Zumrati Ramadan game activity, popular local games and a door hunt game where players solved riddles hidden in historical building doors across Al-Balad.

Hadeel Al-Abbasi, co-founder of Alkuttab and academic manager, said: “We wanted the families to get together and get in the spirit of Ramadan by getting some ideas from the Zumrati activity box, or have fun learning about some Ramadan facts by playing an online game and making beads to promote remembrance of Allah during this holy month. For kids, we had arranged an activity to make samosas and mamoul with playdough.

“On the other hand, we wanted to create an atmosphere where Arabic is mainly spoken and encouraged. We organized an activity both for kids and adults to challenge their Arabic,” she added.

Alkuttab Arabic language institute organized Shabana night filled with fun activities related to Ramadan, as families in Saudi Arabia traditionally get together before Ramadan to celebrate the month of Shaban, known as Shabana. (Photo/Afshan Aziz)

Alkuttab was founded in 2012 to teach Arabic to non-speakers and provide cultural experiences. Its program was designed under the direction of the Ministry of Culture.

Al-Abbasi added: “We provide in-person and online courses twice a week or four times a week, depending on the student. We also welcome students abroad to study a semester in our institute.”

As food brings people together, several traditional meals were arranged for guests at the event, such as balila (chickpea salad), krubbu (a traditional snack), labaniya and laddu, as well as the famous Vimto drink.

Ammal Farhat, founder of Zumrati, said: “The Zumrati box has 32 activities that have been carefully crafted and filled with activities that inspire togetherness, self-awareness and better communication, and it is perfect for families or individuals.”

For Ramadan, Farhat created a limited edition set of boxes that provide tools for people to build communities.

“Alkuttab center is a place that continues to build and grow a community and create a sense of belonging as well as aligning perfectly with the spirit of Zumrati. At its core, Zumrati’s activity box is all about allowing people to create a sense of belonging with each other, and the person who buys Zumrati is essentially saying ‘let’s be stronger together and bring this spirit into our homes, our families and friendships’,” she added.

Zumrati was born out of Farhat’s desire to connect with her children and family.

She realized that Zumrati could help people who feel lonely, invisible and disconnected from their communities.

Sara Colebrooke attended the event with her children, saying that it helped her family understand Saudi traditions and culture. “The event had a festive atmosphere with activities conducive to the theme of Ramadan. My kids had a fun learning experience with Arabic language challenges and Ramadan-related games.

“I wish to see such events that spread awareness about Shabana gatherings.”


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