The moment Ramadan starts, Muslim countries celebrate the month with all its aspects: the spiritual rituals that conflate fasting, praying, and participation in charitable activities; and the social side that includes iftar and Suhoor feasts. Also one of these Ramadan fixtures is the mesaharaty.

1 The mesaharaty is one of the traditional characters related to the month of Ramadan. Since people fast – stop eating and drinking – in Ramadan from dawn to night, the mesaharaty used to pass by houses before dawn in order to wake people up by striking on a small drum and singing some songs in order to remind them to eat before dawn.

2 The name of that supper is Suhoor, and that is why he is called mesaharaty, i.e. the one who reminds people of Suhoor. Nowadays after the presence of clocks and different kinds of reminders and alarms, the Mesaharty has disappeared from our lives, however, he remains one of the main symbols of Ramadan besides the fanoos.

3 This tradition started in Baghdad in the eighth century and then spread to most Islamic countries. Stories suggest that this job started on an informal basis, with people waking up their family members and neighbors for Suhoor.

4 Throughout the years, this task turned into a profession, albeit one that can only be practiced for one month each year. There is no fixed salary for the person, but he receives donations from the people at the end of Ramadan.

5 The mesaharaty may be extinct in the urban areas, but they are still found in some parts of Cairo and in the villages in the countryside.