TEHRAN, April 18 (Xinhua) -- The Iranians have been observing Ramadan since Wednesday amid the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and hardships brought about by the U.S.-imposed sanctions.
Before the arrival of Ramadan, Iranians would go to local or old bazaars across the country to buy supplies they need for this month. Some of them celebrate Ramadan by feasting for a few days before it approaches, which in the Iranian religious culture is called "greeting Ramadan."
According to the Iranian health authorities, religious ceremonies during Ramadan are highly restricted or prohibited in high-risk cities to curb the spread of the coronavirus, but they can be performed in accordance with health protocols in low-risk areas.
The pandemic forced people to remain at home last year and follow the rituals online or through TV programs, said 37-year Hossein, a resident of Shahryar town in the west of capital Tehran, expressing satisfaction with partial openings this year, which have allowed them to attend mosques for prayers during Ramadan.
Due to the one-year wrestling with the disease and its consequences, people and the authorities in the mosques are now fully aware of their responsibilities, he said. "Wearing masks and keeping social distancing is a must in the mosques."
In Iran, people can listen to the preaches as well as recitations of the Quran, and follow the prayers and worshiping on social media platforms and TV.
Meanwhile, some Iranian people consider the impact of sanctions on the prices of essential goods on the eve of Ramadan more severe than the coronavirus threat.
The purchasing power of the Iranian people has diminished to a notable extent.
"We are celebrating Ramadan this year still under oppressive sanctions," Leila, a middle-aged civil servant, said.
"My husband and I are both the bread-winners for this small family, and still our income can hardly meet the end," the mother of two children, who live in the south of Tehran, said.
Over the 30-day Ramadan, Muslims fast during the daylight hours, abstaining from food and water. Some also practice charity and outdoor meal donations.
Leila called on her countrymen and women to be more sympathetic with the people in need and to help them much in this special month.