Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, but it is summer, you know, and who says I can’t just post once a month? Well, yeah, I’m not actually going to do that, but…
Well, anyway, Ramadan.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the holy month in the Islamic calendar, when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset for about 30 days. If you read an earlier post about the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, then you know that fasting for this period of time is one of the five pillars of Islam. Every year the dates for Ramadan change, but this year it is in July, (obviously) so it started a few days ago.
What is iftar and suhoor?
Please don’t tell me that you thought they didn’t eat anything for a whole month. Iftar is the meal at the end of the day, when the sun sets, to break the fast.
As soon as the calling for prayer starts, Muslims can start eating. Yesterday we were walking around in a souk, (a type of market) and when we heard the singing, (the call to prayer) we saw all the shopkeepers put cloth over their shop’s doors and go inside to pray. We could also see them eating hungrily, imagine- NOT EATING OR DRINKING in the suffocating heat, for the whole day! Muslims eat a little bit of food before going to pray, then, after that, they eat large meals with family and friends.
Suhoor is the meal at the beginning of the day, just before sunrise, to start the fast.
I like to call it breakfast.
Here in most parts of the UAE, it’s actually illegal to eat or drink in public. If you want to drink water, you have to do it in a bathroom stall. If you want to eat, you have to do it in your own car, and make sure nobody is watching. Restaurants either close for the whole month of Ramadan, or only open at night.
This might sound totally unrelated, but-
A normal day in summer, for me at least-
Wake up, throw on a tank top and a random pair of shorts, eat breakfast, 4 bowls of cereal, use up all the milk, lounge around and watch TV for an hour or two, get up, grab a few candy bars, head over to my neighbor’s house chewing on them, ring doorbell, play with neighbors for a couple hours outside, get dragged in to lunch, only to beg to eat it outside, grab a sandwich, eat lunch on the front steps with friends, bring iPod outside with speakers and turn on the music loud, dance for a couple more hours, make up an insane gymnastics routine involving insane yelling and a dead chair, change into swimsuit, run barefoot to the creek, explore it, get lost in another neighborhood, get out of creek, run all the way home, talking and laughing with friends.
Now, let’s pretend that this day were going to happen in the UAE instead of the US-
We wouldn’t be allowed to do, like, most of that if it were Ramadan. Let’s go through everything bit by bit.
- “Throw on a tank top and a random pair of shorts,”
- That wouldn’t happen because, even if I’m not participating in Ramadan, it’s disrespectful to show the shoulders or knees in the UAE. Even if it isn’t Ramadan.
- “Get up, grab a few candy bars, head over to neighbor’s house chewing on them,”
- I already told you about the eating in public being illegal. There you go.
- “eat lunch on the front steps with friends,”
- eating in public, illegal, ect.
- “bring iPod outside with speakers and turn on the music loud,”
- during Ramadan, there is no loud music allowed, only with headphones.
- “make up an insane gymnastics routine involving insane yelling and a dead chair,”
- No yelling allowed. Don’t ask about the chair.
- “change into swimsuit, run barefoot to the creek, explore it, get lost in another neighborhood,”
- First of all, there wouldn’t be a creek in the desert. But let’s forget about that. Just pretend that there happens to be a creek in the desert. There’s that whole part: we’re not allowed to show that much skin.
See how Ramadan would change your actions and the course of the day? The day would turn out totally different. Now that you’ve learned about Ramadan, my job is done.
Oh wait! Here’s a phrase that I learned:
Wondering what it means? Look it up. Or you can just guess.