Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Ramadan is the most important event in the Islamic calendar. It occurs during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, when Muslims believe that the prophet Mohamed received the Koran from heaven. Muslims around the world commemorate this event by fasting from sunrise to sunset throughout this month. This is an extremely difficult thing to do in this heat. Friday's temperature here hit 42 degrees. Imagine driving cab in that all day, or working as a gardiner. Construction workers are obliged to drink some water during the day, and not to work from 1 to 3. Menstruating women are excused, as are people with medical reasons and children. The rest do not eat, drink or smoke from sunrise to sunset for thirty days.
Since the Islamic calendar is completely lunar and only 354 days long, the month of Ramadan comes earlier each year than the year before. For the next several years, fasting will be at its most difficult because the summer days are not only hotter, they are longer. Right now, Tunisian Muslims are allowed to break their fast at 7:15 in the evening, and every night is a feast in some homes. Fasting must begin again at 4 am. To get through the day, people get up at 3 to make and eat a meal, then try to get a bit more sleep before they start work. They're not only hungry, dehydrated, and having nic fits, they're sleep deprived as well. No sex, either. This is twenty percent of the world's population, people! All this is supposed to be about discipline and reflection, but the fact is that most people gain weight during Ramadan because they eat so much in the evening and very early morning!
Here is a site with more about the ideal practise of Ramadan. The ideal is very nice.
Lucky old me, I got here one day too late because of that plane delay. You cannot buy a bottle of wine anywhere in the Muslim world at the moment. The Cave des Vins in all the supermarkets are full of pop for the duration.

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