Some censuring Readers will scornfully say, why hath this Lady writ her own life? Since none cares to know whose daughter she was or whose wife she is, or how she was bred, or what fortunes she had, or how she lived, or what humor or disposition she was of? I answer that is true, that 'tis to no purpose to the Readers, but it is to the Authoress, because I write it for my own sake, not theirs. ~Margaret Cavendish in 1655

Thursday, October 06, 2005

ramadan is here!

The moon has spoken and Ramadan has started. What this means for me is 1) no eating in the streets/public during the day, 2) some of my favorite places will only serve if-tar and no lunch or regular dinners, 3) I can hope for invites to if-tars. This time of year is great for visiting people in their homes and enjoying each others' company. The drawback is that its easier for people to become angry and clumsy, since they are food deprived and usually sleep deprived.
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.

2 comments:

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Megs said...

hey ms. laura! Thankyou for the Ramadan breakdown-- always helpful to understand what's going on. so you get any tremors with that earthquake?

have fun!