For people fasting during Ramzan in Perinthalmanna town, the twin blasts at dusk tell them its time to break their fast. The twin Kathina blasts every day during the holy month to announce Iftar time continue to be a tradition at Town Juma Masjid in Perinthalmanna, this in the age of most modern facilities to determine the sunset time.
“It’s a tradition that everyone here cherish,” said Mannil Mohammed, president of the mosque. “It is a decades-old practice. In the past, when there were very few mosques and hardly any facility to determine time, almost the entire community used to depend on the Kathina blasts,” said Mr. Mohammed.
Before the advent of loudspeakers for Azan (prayer call), major mosques across Malabar had used Kathina to announce the Iftar time.
Kathina was phased out with the advent of loudspeakers. However, some mosques refused to discontinue the tradition. “It still gives us a rare feeling of contentment when we break our fast on hearing the sound of the Kathina,” said Mohammed Ali, a middle-aged businessman from Perinthalmanna.
People of Perinthalmanna were slightly upset when they did not hear the Kathina blast from the Town Juma Masjid last year. Because of the unavailability of the person who manages the fireworks, the mosque had to discontinue last year. But it has resumed the practice on popular demand this year.
This is not the only mosque which follows the Kathina blast tradition. Pallikkunnu Juma Masjid at Wandoor is another one. M. Mohammed, a marriage broker, has been handling the Kathina at Pallikkunnu for over three decades. The sound of the Kathina is heard across several kilometrest.
Even if the call of the muezzin for Magrib is heard from mosques, people wait for the sound of the Kathina.