This is the breakdown of Ramadan, as I have observed:
- A person wakes up about an hour or so before the break of dawn. This is to eat breakfast and to pray. You know when this happens, due to each and every mosque either turns on a siren or employs boys to beat drums, microphone "Wake up, it's time to wake UP and eat breakfast!" around the neighborhood. Officially the fasting starts when you can tell the difference between a black thread and a white thread.
- Then you go back to sleep until its time to really get up and get ready for work. Alot of village people work from sunrise to sunset, so they just stay up.
- Then the waiting begins. Naps in the early afternoon are more prevelant, since that makes the time go faster and you had to get up early to make breakfast (more common for women who do all the cooking, that is).
- The cooking for if-tar starts. If-tar is the breaking of the fast. A woman must cook without tasting her food. Or if she does taste it, she must spit it back out and rinse her mouth out - without swallowing anything. That is one reason that I don't mind going to houses early, since I can be used as a taste-tester.
- Finally, when a person can't tell the difference between a black and a white thread, it's time to eat! Generally, people start with a glass of water or dates, since that is what the Prophet did to break his fasts. Alot of times, people will just take to the water and dates and then go pray, come back and finish their if-tar.
- A couple of hours later, dinner is served around 11:00 at night.
- The process begins again.
Something that is considered auspicious is to read the entire Qu'ran during this holy month. Some mosques will have it read over the loudspeaker for a couple of hours every evening, for those who are illiterate. That can be annoying for the non-Muslim living in the neighborhood, along with the siren and/or drum at 3:30 in the morning. I think that the drum about put me over the edge last year. This year, however, I didn't hear a single thing in my house. I am darn happy about that.