From the American in Dubai, Ramadan Kareem!

I wasn’t going to write this post until after Ramadan. I thought there was no point in talking much about the holiday until the month was over and I was able to fully observe the practice.  Only then would I be able to write about Ramadan in a more educated and interesting way.

Then Ramadan started.

For those of you that already know what Ramadan is, you’ll know what I mean when I say I’m writing this at 5:30pm so I’m a little delusional and scatter minded.

For those of you that don’t know, Ramadan is similar to a Holy Month for Muslims.  From what I’ve heard and seen, this is supposed to be a time of reflection.  Also, at this time Muslims are encouraged to donate and share with the poor and less fortunate. Most noticeably, this month requires Muslims to fast during the day and eat only after sunset. When I say fast I mean no water, no food, no music, no hand holding, no anything pleasure inducing basically.

The food court in the malls is closed. No eating in public allowed during fasting hours.
The food courts in the malls are closed! Eating is not allowed in public during the fasting hours of Ramadan.

This lasts a month.

We’re 4 days in now…

I had no clue what to expect, the story of my life right now, but I didn’t think I was going to participate in fasting.  As usual, nothing going as planned, I found myself on board the fasting train by day 2. The first day I ate a granola bar during the day and found myself feeling guilty when I went over to Wafiq’s parents house for Iftar. Iftar is the meal  at sunset that breaks the fast. I shouldn’t even call it a meal, it’s a HUGE buffet hours in the making and includes a wide variety of traditional Arabic food.

Anyways, I felt guilty the first day I was over at the house because his brothers, sister, friends, and family were all gathered around anxious to eat.  I wanted to be a part of this feeling.  So the next day I decided I’ll go for it too. Why not? When will I get a chance to participate in such a holiday like this again?

So I’m fasting. I’m hungry. I’m thirsty.  But so far this is a pretty neat experience. I’m lucky as an expat in Dubai to be able to experience this with locals. I’m totally taking advantage of it and the big feasts every single night with food that is so exotic to my big ol taste buds.  There’s something about starving people around food at sunset waiting to eat that makes a really humbling experience. Phones, TV’s, showing up late, all appear out of the picture. There’s a hungry connection between everyone that’s really cool.

So, I’ll write another post a month from now when Ramadan is over. I’ll let you know if I survived and held to the fasting traditions! Wish me luck 🙂

...but the malls are awfully quiet during the day. No music in the stores :)
Malls are awfully quiet during the day. No music allowed…
All the stores are in the holiday spirit!
..but they sure are in the holiday spirit! Ramadan Kareem!
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