Monday, August 1, 2011

Ramadan Kareem!

Today is the day that all UAE residents hold near and dear to their heart.  The start of Ramadan.  Here is my very novice approach to the subject, glistened from those around me.  There is a moon committee that is some where down in the deserts of Saudi Arabia, in my mind it is a group of men who rotate shifts, taking turns, standing the in middle of the desert at all hours gazing into the sky, waiting for the new moon.  I am sure it is much more scientific (or maybe not?) than that but I think it makes it all the more magical.  Once they glimpse the new moon Ramadan is "called," which means fasting when from just after sunrise to sunset.  Then If-tar occurs every night which is breaking of the fast, and those who are participating eat an absolutely splendid spread, celebrate into the wee hours of the night, go to bed and do it all over again, for thirty days.  The fasting bans any and all food and drink substances, including water, or chewing gum.  If you are a non muslim and you are not participating you cannot be caught eating or drinking in public, you must partake of this behind a black curtain so not to be seen.  This is serious stuff too!  If you are caught sneaking even a drink of water or chewing gum in the public eye, you can be fined and possibly jailed.

Can you imagine the dedication this all takes?  It is so those who partake remember the poor and give more back.  I learned in my office the other day that if you give to the poor during Ramadan it is looked at giving 700 times greater than any other time of the year.  As I said this is my take on the whole subject, I did not do any research, but we are just on the first day and I am sure I have much to learn over the next 29 days.  

I know this is a bit more of a serious blog, but really I think it is interesting to learn about the culture over here.  This is way I have stepped out of my comfort zone to experience and see another view point, to take part to have a greater understanding.  One another note I am just about a week away from getting my official visa.  My medical records have gone through and that is yet another interesting experience that we will get into next time.  But the sun has gone down now and boy am I thirsty... 

1 comment:

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