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Keeping tradition alive: Jerusalem wakes up to the sound of a Musaharaty


Keeping tradition alive: Jerusalem wakes up to the sound of a Musaharaty

Jerusalem is woken up to the sound of a Musaharaty every day during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

His drum beat breaks the night silence as he walks through the city, acting as a human alarm clock. His call reminds people that it is time for the sohor, a small meal eaten before day breaks and fasting begins.

Nidal Hijazi has taken on the role of the Musaharaty in Jerusalem’s Old City.

He stops at almost every house in the neighbourhood to call out the residents’ names.

It’s a tradition dating back centuries, but one that seems to have faded in the city in recent times.

“In the past, we heard there were many Musaharaty,” he explained. “But then this figure disappeared for a number of years. So we wanted to revive this old Palestinian tradition in Jerusalem, particularly in the Old City.”

In some parts of the Arab world the Musaharaty has been replaced by young men from the local mosques, who drive around calling through a loudspeaker. In other areas people simply use modern-day alarm clocks.

But in Jerusalem, Nidal Hijazi wishes to uphold the ancient tradition of the Musaharaty for as long as possible.

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