Hawzah News Agency (Calgary, Canada) - "Friday nights there’s so much energy," said Sarah Amery, owner of Flipp'n Burgers in Kensington. "It's fun chaos."
Ramadan Fridays start at around 9 pm, but it's not until the wee hours of the morning that the diner is packed with people, usually still dressed in their prayer clothes, trickling in from the last prayer of the day.
Ramadan Fridays is a tradition that started around four years ago when Amery and her husband, Aris Abdulkarim, were approached by regular customer Rahamatullah Siddique and a few of his friends to see if they would consider staying open later on Friday nights. They wanted to have a place they could break their fast.
''It was really awesome. There were about eight of us who would come and it just grew," Siddique said. "It's now a tradition. It just adds to the community spirit; everyone can come to enjoy a pre-dawn meal."
Through word of mouth, the event got bigger and bigger, until it became what it is today. Amery said on an average Friday night during Ramadan they see between 50 to 80 people.
This year the profits made during late-night Ramadan Fridays is donated to the Islamic Relief Canada. Guests are also encouraged to bring non-perishable food data-x-items to donate to the food bank.
''There's a lot of community spirit in the people that come out. People will bring other families who may not be able to afford to eat out,'' Amery said.
It's a warm environment; Friends reconnecting, adults teasing teenagers, children chattering with excitement. With every new face that walks in, people scoot in a bit closer to make more room to sit and eat.
Amery, who is Lebanese-Canadian, said the environment the tradition creates really embraces their culture.