Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat fired the ancient Ramadan cannon on Sunday evening to signify the end of the sixteenth day of fasting — publicly announcing the halfway mark through the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
The ceremonial event was held together with the family of Haj Yahya Sandoka, who is responsible for the operation of the cannon during the month of fasting and the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.
The family of Haj Yahya Sandoka has been responsible for the cannon fire since the Ottoman period, some 200 years ago.
The month of Ramadan ends on June 25, when the Muslim residents of the city will mark the Eid al-Fitr, a day of feasting that is celebrated by Muslims to congratulate themselves for fasting the month of Ramadan. Eid al-Fitr is celebrated on the first of Shawwal, the tenth month of the lunar Islamic calendar. During Ramadan observant Muslims fast during daylight hours.
In preparation for Ramadan, the Municipality carried out a comprehensive cleaning operation in the neighborhoods and cleared large garbage dumps, including dirt and building waste, the mayor told media.
In addition, Arab neighborhoods in the city were decorated with holiday lighting, and there were 40 greeting signs and festive flags in three languages placed throughout the city. Substantial investments were made in road infrastructure and filling potholes on main streets as well.
“Ornamental corners” were set up at the entrance to the neighborhoods, including greeting signs, landscaping and holiday decorations. New benches and shading were also set up around the Old City of Jerusalem.
To accommodate the influx of visitors to the city, parking lots were prepared for visitors and worshipers, and light rail lines have increased their service in order to make it easier for those seeking to visit the Temple Mount and the Old City.
Cultural and social events were also held in cooperation with community administrations in 12 neighborhoods across the municipality. Recreational facilities at schools in those neighborhoods were opened with night lighting for the benefit of the residents and communities. In addition, the municipal welfare department distributed food stamps to the needy at the welfare offices.