Ramadan is of course the Holy Month of fasting for Muslims, and so I respect that. Just can't help but feel that it's not really fasting. It's more a case of switching the three meals to night time and sometimes even overcompensating for the meals that have been missed.
So Ifthar, which is the first meal just after the fasting of the day at 6:30 would be like breakfast. Usually juice, soup, dates, light refreshments and hydration. Then a couple of hours or so after that a heavy full course meal to the point of feasting. People usually stay up all night and have their last meal just before sunrise. Making it a total of three meals.
Muslims here then go to work with almost no sleep, maybe a couple or more hours after the morning prayers, and then during the afternoon every one goes home to rest until Ifthar.
Ramadan is an occasion for family and friends gathering right through, so imagine the amount of food that has to be purchased by every one and is consumed. The most expensive month of the year. Also the most wasteful, particularly at Ifthar, when restaurants are laying out tables with a great variety of snacks and quite a lot of it has to be discarded afterwards.
Any way, I'm more or less lucky, as we have shorter working days, from 9:00 to 3:00 p.m. I usually stay longer, as it's still the same volume of work, and I'm not fasting. I do find however that I eat much less during Ramadan. It feels like a good time to be more mindful about what I eat, say and do. So there is something good in Ramadan in that way.
At any rate, wishing all those who are doing the fast Ramadan Kareem. And peace.
2 blog comments below
Well this is fascinating! I mean, to be somewhere and view these different traditions and aspects of another culture. Mind you, I'd be horribly paranoid of doing or saying something wrong
TheGremlyn on Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:20 pm
I was very much so in the beginning, however even with having experienced Ramadan a few years in succession, I'm still very careful. When these guys fast, they need space, so most of the expats keep a low profile. For example all of the tea and coffee things and the water dispenser that were standing in the corridor were moved into a spare office today. We sort of sneak coffee and tea, and snacks for lunch (the cafeteria at work is closed for the whole of Ramadan). Some of the expats (this has happened to me over the last two years) fast as well during working hours - except for doing without water. I find it convenient instead of sneaking around to find some food. It's really bad to raise voices and that kind of thing during the month of Ramadan, although some of the locals do vent, as fasting does put a strain on their patience. Not a good idea to be out driving during peak traffic time either. Quite a lot of road traffic accidents with people driving on empty stomachs and lack of sleep, and being inattentive, impatient and irritable. Particularly in the excessive heat of the peak of summer.
deanhills on Tue Jul 09, 2013 7:36 pm