As Ramadan comes to a close, we look at one of the key jobs that is singular to the Islamic holy month. It’s a solitary role that requires only three hours of work each day after midnight. CCTV-America’s Adel el Mahrouky introduces us to a “Mesaharatay” in Egypt.
The Mesaharatay is one of the oldest, most deep-rooted Ramadan traditions. El Misaharaty is the name given to the person who walks and beats a drum in residential areas to wake people up to eat the sohor (a meal eaten before the beginning of the fast) before morning prayers. Yet, today, this ancient practice seems to be in decline.
Egypt's El Mesaharaty crucial to RamadanAs Ramadan comes to a close, we look at one of the key jobs that is singular to the Islamic holy month. It is a solitary role that requires only three hours of work each day after midnight. CCTV-America's Adel el Mahrouky introduces us to a "Mesaharatay" in Egypt.
With his father’s 50-year-old drum, Hassan Baraka walks in the streets of Cairo’s el Manyal district, banging his drum after midnight, to wake people up. Hassan in a Mesaharaty — it’s his job to wake people up. Many pay him for it, and he’s very popular here particularly among the kids.
During the Holy month of Ramadan, Muslims should stay without food or drink from sunrise to sunset. To be able to last this long, people would have a Sohour. It’s the last meal before dawn, so Baraka stands by their house and call their names, until they respond.
The Mesaharatay is greatly respected in his neighborhood. He is considered to be a wise man. He is capable of memorizing all the names of the locals and therefore become very beneficial in many situations.
Today, Egypt has both its modern and more ancient sides, and of course many Egyptians now use alarm clocks to fulfill the function of the traditional Mesaharatay. Therefore, the art of the drummer is diminishing, though in some neighborhoods his work continues to be necessary.