The 92-year-old Esma Kajtaranovic is welcoming Ramadan and fasting since she was 9-year-old. And she remembers that others used to “sew” fast for her and younger children who were not obliged to fast and they would let them eat at noon, and then they would continue with their fast until the Iftar dinner (dinner when believers break the fast).
“My mother died when I was 7 seven years old, and I grew up with my father, stepmother and three brothers,” remembers grandma Esma. She said that their father taught them to love the Qur’an, and despite the fact that they went to the mosque regularly, he taught them at home as well.
“On the eve of Friday and Monday, he used to take the Qur’an and teach us, and we had to sit there and follow, and when he stops, to continue. And if you were not paying attention and followed carefully, you would be in a trouble,” said grandmother Esma with a laugh.
She grew up in Vratnik, in Sarajevo mahala (street), and her imam, that she remembers with love even though he was strict, was Muhamed ef. Focak.
She attempted to transfer her knowledge to her children, and there are four of them, and now she has grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well.
They used to make a variety of dishes for iftar dinner, and today, she says, they are almost completely forgotten.
“Before we did not go to the bakery to buy somun bread (traditional flat bread), but there was an older man who had a plank with somun bread on his back and yelled: “Somun, fresh somun”, and he would bring them in front of every house. We used to go for iftars to our families and they were coming as well, and we would bring our food to our neighbors as well,” said grandma Esma, adding that it was the most beautiful to live in mahala, where doors did not have locks.
They were going to tarawih prayer in a different mosque every day, and girls were accompanied by older women, and they always had to know where everyone is. Later on, they would have long gatherings that would last almost all night, says grandma Esma, adding that she could only keep the beauty of Ramadan in her heart and that it cannot be transferred.