What you need to know about the breakfast ball tradition

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What you need to know about the breakfast ball tradition

The month of Ramadan is very important for Muslims all over the world. However, in this holy month for Muslims, it is possible to encounter similar and different traditions and cultural elements in different parts of the Islamic geography. The tradition of the “breakfast ball”, which continues to this day in many countries where the majority of the population is Muslim, is one of the most interesting elements specific to the month of Ramadan. Well, have you ever thought about the story behind this ancient tradition and how and when the first breakfast ball was launched? Here’s what you need to know about the tradition of the iftar party, one of the most interesting practices specific to Ramadan.

It is possible to encounter the Ramadan ball tradition in geographical areas where Islamic faith and culture prevail.

In other words, it is very likely that you will see and hear the sounds of cannons firing one after another in the countries of Islamic geography, especially at the time of breaking the fast, during the month of Ramadan. OK, but how did these balls, which have a very simple purpose of “notification of breakfast time,” become an ancient tradition that has been alive for hundreds of years, moreover, in different geographic regions of the world?

There is no consensus on when the iftar party tradition began.

For this reason, there are different accounts of the beginning of the tradition.

Some historians claim that the origins of this tradition go back to the tenth century, to the Fatimid dynasty in Egypt.

In this account it is said that one of the Fatimid caliphs placed a cannon on the Moqattam Hill in Cairo so that the Muslims could accurately determine the time of breaking the fast, and thus the tradition began.

Another account of the Iftar ball tradition states that the tradition emerged in the 15th century, again during the Mamluk state in Egypt.

The breakfast ball tradition

However, there are some interesting details in this narrative. Accordingly, the breakfast ball tradition came about entirely by accident. One of the rulers of the Mamluk state went to a hill to test the cannon he had recently acquired and to fire the cannon there.

However, since this trial coincided with the time of breaking the fast and the call to prayer was called immediately after the cannon was fired, Muslims in the area believe that the cannonball was fired to report the time for breaking the fast. On the other hand, there are other accounts that are more or less similar to the origins of the tradition.

Some legends mention that the breakfast ball tradition appeared by chance during the reign of the Egyptian ruler Cavalli Muhammad Ali Pasha.

The breakfast ball tradition

This Ottoman pasha, who wanted to give Egypt a modern military look, ordered military cannons from Germany in the early 19th century. The moment when these modern weapons are tested for the first time also coincides with breakfast. Afterwards, cannon shots are kept alive as a Ramadan tradition.

There are different accounts as to when and in what era the breakfast ball tradition emerged. However, many historians state that the tradition began in Egypt and spread throughout Islamic geography.

The breakfast ball tradition

However, another thing that is almost certain about imitation is that the chance of it arising by chance is too strong to be ignored.

The tradition of the Iftar ball, which had been alive for many years in geographical areas where the Islamic faith prevailed, was also very important to the Ottoman people.

The breakfast ball tradition

Especially for the Ottomans who live in the capital, Istanbul. The tradition of the iftar party, which is very important for Istanbul (perhaps we should say the tradition of throwing cannons, because at that time cannons were fired during iftar and suhoor periods) began in 1821 with the first cannon fired at Anadolu Hisari. This tradition, which spread to other parts of the capital in a short time, has turned into one of the most important symbols of Ramadan in Istanbul.

The breakfast ball tradition is kept alive today just to “make a sound”

The breakfast ball tradition

This ancient Ramadan tradition has lost its function of informing the time of breaking the fast in modern times. This task is now being taken over by smartphones, computers or televisions. However, the breakfast ball tradition continues in many countries, with shots made from balls designed to only make a sound.

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