The glorious month of Ramadan is special in Tunisia، where life takes a different course، marked with special customs and traditions. The families decorate the front of their houses and those caring for Mosques give them an extra coat of paint and light up the minarets with lamps.
The Tunisian family is reunited and strengthens its bonds during this month، which the Tunisians call the “Month of Meeting”، because members of each family find themselves around the same table every day at Iftaar (end of the fast). The bonds of solidarity and fraternity consolidate and people visit family and friends frequently. Many families residing close to a Mosque offer worshippers milk and dates before prayer and the Iftaar meal after. In the cities، caravans of solidarity are organized to provide Iftaar for the poor and needy. During the month of Ramadan، thereis a large increase in the number of worshippers in Mosques throughout the country. Thousands of citizens hasten each day not only to pray the 'Asr (afternoon) prayer، but also to take part in the circles of “Thikr” (Remembering and supplicating Allah) and religious seminars organized daily in the Mosques after the 'Asr and Maghreb (sunset) prayers. The Mosques are frequently overflowing، they are so full that men، women and young people have to pray in the streets and neighboring public spaces. One particularly noticeable phenomenon in the last few years has been the large surge in the number of young people، boys and girls، who go to the Mosques. Observers refer to this as “rebirth of the faith”، which impregnates Tunisian society during this glorious month. Tunisian families begin their preparations for Ramadan، on the moral and material levels، especially the women who are to prepare meals for Iftaar. They prepare “hlalem”، a kind of traditional paste used for the daily soup، “bssissa” a very nutritious mixture containing corn، coriander، chick-peas، sugar، olive oil and salt and the “brik، a triangular wafer stuffed with eggs، meat or fish and fried in oil. The majority of cities organize various cultural and artistic activities during the long evenings، where a convivial family atmosphere prevails.
In Ramadan it is to be expected that shops، restaurants، banks، etc.، either are completely closed or open just for a few hours per day، either in the morning or at night. State offices in Tunisia are open only from morning to noon. The number of employees is lower and the efforts and quality of service is low to very low - which is no wonder really، when someone is deprived of sleep and energy.
In the tourist zones of Tunisia، the restaurants and cafes، namely in the tourist hotels، are usually open during the day. Some Tunisians might express displeasure when they observe tourists drinking، eating or smoking in the public during Ramadan. The products in the supermarkets are more expensive than during the rest of the year، because traditionally، in the evening (sunset)، in almost every family، a particularly sumptuous dinner is being prepared. Since the fasting begins again in the early morning (sunrise)، it is، at night and early in the morning، on the streets and in the Tunisian houses، a lot livelier than usual. With the proliferation of islamic religious groups after the uprising of 2011 and the lifting of the ban on Islamic parties in Tunisia، there have been since، especially away from the tourist areas، disturbances caused by members of these groups to individuals or business owners who did not live up to the rules of Ramadan. In some cities، and to some extent even in tourist areas، shops and restaurants have been closed during the day، even for tourists. Various cultural festivals during Ramadan have been disrupted by religious groups so that the artists could not perform. The justification for this was that musical performances should not be held and certain topics should not be discussedadressed during Ramadan. In all aircrafts of the Tunisian company Tunisair، which are often chartered by European airlines، the consumption of alcohol during Ramadan is banned.