Ramadan has officially started! Muslims worldwide observe this as a month of fasting from food, water, and sexual activities which lasts about 29 days. According to Islam, it is the best way of devotion of Muslims towards God. It is believed that if one is over the age of 12, they should fast. However, those who are physically and mentally challenged should not, as well as woman during their menstruation.
During Ramadan, Muslims visit the mosque for prayers (apart from their 5 daily prayers). It is said the rewards of fasting are multiplied during Ramadan, which includes an increase in salat (prayers). Once the sun sets, they may have the first of two meals: one before the sunrise and one after the sunsets.
Even though I am not participating in Ramadan, I respect their culture. I can easily see the changes throughout the city. The streets that where once crowded on my way to the Orphanage every morning, is now deserted and quiet. It is not until I return from volunteering that local shops are just starting to open up. I have heard that people tend to have less of a temper, but I have yet to witness any “out of the ordinary” arguments. When I ride the train at night, I see the passengers constantly asking for the time to et the “O.K.” to eat. Once it is confirmed, they reach into their bags and pull out snacks or sweets prepared to eat. The dedication of the Muslims during Ramadan is exceedingly honorable.
I do not eat or drink when I am out and about. I wait till I am in the comfort of my home to do so. Since I am still on a regular eating schedule, my host mom still makes me lunch (which I feel guilty for) and dinner. However, dinner these days has been grand and a mixture of different pastries, Moroccan soup, and flat bread to name a few. My dinner has more of a breakfast selection because it is the family’s first meal of the day. Around 3-3:30 a.m., I hear the host mom preparing the second meal of the day. She whispers to her husband that food is ready. Afterwards, the host dad goes down to the mosque to pray.