Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ramadan Kareem

The hilal, or crescent moon, has been seen! Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic year, has begun.

from the streets of Abu Dhabi
For Muslims, it is a time of dedication, prayer, holistic fasting (abstaining from food and water, as well as undesirable emotions and sinful actions), charitable giving, and family time. To put it in North American terms, the season reminds me of a mix between Lent and Christmas.

For non-Muslims, life also changes a bit.
  • It is illegal to eat, drink, chew gum, or smoke in public during daylight hours. (This includes your car as well.)
  • Cafes and restaurants are closed during the day.
  • There is no swearing, singing, loud music, or dancing allowed.
  • Everyone is expected to dress more conservatively.
  • Most business and companies work a shorter day.
Urban legend says that if you break these rules, you will be put in jail until the end of Ramadan. Or maybe you will just get away with a big fine? I'm not exactly sure and don't plan on finding out!

After sunset, many Muslims break their fast by drinking milk and eating dates. (This is what Mohammad did.) They follow this up with an Iftar meal. I was able to attend an Iftar my first year in Abu Dhabi.

The food is laid out and ready while we wait for the signal that the sun has set.

Time to eat!

Everyone sits together on the floor. Instead of forks and knives, you eat with your right hand.

1. A big spread
2. Lime and mint juice; local water; milk
3. Waiting for sunset
4. Desserts: sweet, syrupy, and fried

رمَضَان كريم
Wishing you Ramadan blessings!
♥, Molly

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