• Jerusalem

  • Friday, April 5, 2024 at 4:46 AM
    Last Update : Friday, April 5, 2024 at 4:46 AM

The 125-year Story of The Palestinian Family Responsible for Launching Jerusalem’s Ramadan Cannon

(AWP) - Rajai Sandouka does not remember a single day where has has broken his Ramadan fast with his family since he took charge of launching the famous Ramadan blank cannon shell in Jerusalem 35 years ago.

He has made the iftar call of duty a priority, requiring him to prepare and fire the sound bomb, announcing that the time for breaking the fast has come.

The Holy month of Ramadan is where Muslim faithful abstain from eating and drinking from dawn until dusk.

Sandouka bears the responsibility for the Ramadan cannon as an honour that has been passed down among his family members since the Ottomans ruled the city. He turns his face daily during the month of Ramadan to the Mujahideen Cemetery, located on a high hill on Salah Al-Din Street in Jerusalem, where the cannon has been stationed for more than a century.

"The Ramadan cannon is a legacy that I inherited from my father and my grandparents. As a family, we have been responsible for the Ramadan cannon for more than 300 years, since the Turkish era in the days of the Ottoman Empire. The Sandouka family has been responsible for launching the Ramadan cannon since the cannon first came to Jerusalem,” said Sandouka.

“I have been firing the Ramadan cannon for 35 years. For 35 years, I have not once broken my fast with my wife and children. My home is about half an hour away from here. During this half hour, my family will have almost finished breaking their fast, especially since the fasting person is eager to hear the cannon shot and then the call to prayer, in order to start drinking water and eating, and it is impossible for anyone to wait any longer. I have no luck,” he added.

The sound of the Ramadan cannon attracts people from all over the Palestinian lands, including Baraa Abu Shkheidam, who came from Hura in the Negev Desert to hear its launch, a feeling he describes as very beautiful.

“It is a beautiful feeling when you hear the sound of the cannon, which we are not accustomed to hearing in our area. We do not hear this sound in our region. It is a strange and beautiful feeling at the same time,” Abu Shkeidam said.

Moaz Abu Salgham, also Bedouin, came to Jerusalem from the Negev to hear the Ramadan iftar cannon.
“The cannon is in Al-Aqsa Mosque. I have never heard it in our area. It is a beautiful feeling, and a large number of people come here to hear this sound a few seconds before iftar,” he said.

Fares Marar, a young Palestinian from Shufat Camp, located within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, similarly expressed his happiness at hearing the sound of the Ramadan cannon.

“The cannon is special. Its sound before breaking the fast makes you feel that you are truly fasting, and you feel that you are living in a beautiful atmosphere. I cannot express it in words: a wonderful atmosphere, an atmosphere that only those who love it can feel,” Marar said.