Monday, August 1, 2011

Ramadam Kareem

Today is the start of the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and lasts 29 to 30 days. A crescent moon signals the start of Ramadan. It is the Islamic month of fasting in which Muslims refrain from eating and drinking during the daylight hours. Muslims fast for the sake of Allah and to offer more prayer than usual. Compared to the solar calendar, the dates of Ramadan vary, moving backwards by about eleven days each year depending on the moon. Muslims believe Ramadan to be auspicious month for the revelaions of God to humankind and being the month in which the first verses of the Qur'an were revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

Ramadan Kareem means "Generous Ramadan" and essentially a Ramadan greeting. You can also say Ramadan Mubarak which means "Congratulations it is Ramadan."

At sunset, the family will gather the fast-breaking meal known as Iftar. The meal starts with the eating of a date. Then it's time for the Maghrib prayer, which is the fourth of the five daily prayers, after which the main meal is served. Most stores close down during the day and evening prayers and the Iftar meal, but then re-open and stay open for a good part of the night.

The holiday of Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of the fasting period of Ramadan and the first day of the following month, after another new moon has been sighted. The Eid falls after 29 or 30 days of fasting, per the lunar sighting. Eid ul-Fitr means the back to the fitrah ; usually a special celebration is made. Food is donated to the poor; everyone puts on their best, usually new, clothes; and communal prayers are held in the early morning, followed by feasting and visiting relatives and friends.

So...what does month of Ramadan look like for us since we are not Muslim....
  • John has a modified work schedule where he goes in earlier and comes home earlier...6 AM to 3 PM.
  • Stores are closed during the day and open after sunset prayer and stay open until early morning 2-3 AM.
  • Although we can eat/drink during the day it is only in our homes and not in public.
  • The shoppers bus schedules are vastly different (and actually have not been published yet) so grocery shopping/errands are harder considering we can't go until after Iftar which is why I stocked up on food, paper goods, craft supplies and home projects
  • Most of the westerners have left the country so our camp is pretty empty and lonely
  • Since it is way too hard to get out (and too hot), friends are gone, not too many play dates are happening, we don't have swimming lessons and essentially have nothing to do....we have decided to finish this potty training business and are doing great! We are on day two with NO accidents. Peyton just goes by herself even when I am busy with Graham she just goes and does her thing. A lesson for sure in how kids will do it on their own time!
It will be a long month for sure but we have the purchase of a car to look forward to, hopefully our shipment arriving and then a trip to Bahrain the beginning of September so hopefully it will fly by!

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