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Waking up the neighbours: Indonesia's Ramadan alarm clocks

AFP  |  Jakarta 

Most of is fast asleep at 2:00 am, but for and his pint-sized comrades it's time to the neighbourhood.

The motley group of children yell and bang on tambourines and drums as they roam the quiet streets of Indonesia's capital on a mission to stir sleeping residents for a pre-dawn meal.

It is and millions across the world's biggest Muslim-majority nation are abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking or sex during daylight hours.

The morning meal, known as Sahur, can be crucial to making it through until sunset without or drink.

"Sahur! Sahur! Please sir, madam!" hollers the 20-strong group of kids, aged seven to 15.

It's music to the ears of dozens of other children who stream out of their houses to join in, adding the thump of and water jugs to the ensemble.

"This tradition has been around for a long time -- every kid is happy to do it," said 13-year-old Ramadin.

"I like it because this not only entertains people, but also helps them for the pre-dawn meal." Their entertainment value is probably a matter of debate.

But many of the kids are part of a Koran study group run by the local mosque which has given its blessing to this midnight madness.

Complaining would be futile.

"They are indeed noisy, but it helps me wake up on time," offers local resident Rosimah, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

"We are used to it -- happens every year," she added.

alarms and digital clocks have seen this wake-up tradition gradually decline over the years.

But it is still found across the sprawling - especially in smaller communities -- which is home to about 260 million people. Nearly 90 percent are Muslim.

Similar wake-up traditions are also practised in some other Muslim nations during Ramadan, which ends in mid-June.

Most of the group's members are known as local troublemakers so conscripting them into religious service is a win-win situation for the neighbourhood -- and the mosque.

"Many of these kids have dropped out of school. Some never even went to school. They are unemployed and became street children who cause trouble," Alvanali Panji Prasetyo, an Islamic teacher and group leader, told AFP.

"Thanks to God, the kids are starting to change their attitude after joining the group.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, June 10 2018. 10:30 IST
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