Yesterday was the first day of Ramadan. And for the first year, I will actually be here for a good portion of the holy month. Since it shifts earlier by about eleven days each year, for the past three years it’s fallen almost entirely during the time I was away for summer. Last year I think I only saw three days of it before I flew off to America.
The most obvious difference is that we can’t eat or drink in public during the daylight hours. That includes even water. Also smoking. You shouldn’t even be doing it in your car. During the daylight, non-fasters have to find private places to eat and drink and smoke. At places of work, for example, they designate a certain area for eating (or at my school, we just hide in an empty classroom since there are no students and plenty of empty rooms.) Restaurants are almost all closed during the day and only open after sunset and evening prayer. In hotels you can still find restaurants with daylight hours, grocery stores are still open, and many places will deliver, but the hours are reduced because there’s just so much less need for it.
Speaking of hours, we all have reduced hours, hurrah! The standard practice is to reduce shifts to 6 hours (or less.) Meaning I now work from around 8 to 2. Our students are already done and we’re just coming in to tie up loose ends/sit around doing nothing for those six hours. I imagine it would be different if students were in. It hasn’t really made a difference to us since we’d be on summer timings regardless of Ramadan… but it’s cool for everyone with normal jobs I gather.
My boyfriend is fasting. Like hardcore fasting. During Ramadan, it’s not just about the literal fast from food and drink. It’s also about doing what’s right in life. For example, we won’t be hanging out alone in private anymore (read between the lines…) because we’re not married. And when he was driving last night, he would swear (which he does when people cut him off or stop suddenly or whatever) but then immediately ask for Allah’s forgiveness. Because you’re supposed to take the month to be the best Muslim and person you can be.
Ramadan mubarak everyone!