Those were simpler times. There were only a few odd houses with as much as a radio. Loudspeakers or TVs were something that most have never laid their eyes upon. The only clock in the island was said to be at the island’s office or at the mosque.
Therefore it was the responsibility of the “Rashu Office” – the island’s main administrative body to announce the breaking of the fast.
Children are outside waiting to hear the booming sound as sunset approaches. It is said that for the length of the holy month, everyday without complaint an attendant from the island’s office climbs the tallest tree at the center of the island when sunset approaches. His responsibility is to see and make sure that the sun has completely set. When he is undoubtedly sure, he takes out his “Sangu” and blows the horn five times.
The low deep sound carries on for miles and is reverberated throughout the island. The islanders then begins to break their fast.
Even as recently as 50 years ago, the “Sangu” was part of the daily life of every Maldivian as it played a major role in communication across the island. Everyone would drop what they were doing and report to the island’s office if they hear the shell horn announcement, as it was used to rally people if anything was to be announced by the “Katheebu” – the island chief.
Blowing the Triton shell is an art itself, and people with the talent were held in high regard. But blowing of the horn without consent is highly forbidden, and can only be done with an order from the island’s office.
These interesting shells are commonly found amongst rocks and coral surrounding the island. Triton shells are characterized by their showy appearance, spikey fronds, and a brightly colored interior and are the most valuable of the seashells.