Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ramadan Time

Well, it's Ramadan time again.  Ramadan in Egypt kind of reminds me of Christmas in the States.  Yes, I KNOW that the two holidays are completely different, for different religions and for different reasons.

What I mean is that Ramadan as a "holiday" (although can a holiday really last a month?) takes over the country of Egypt in a way similar to how Christmas takes over America.

So just like you see trees and lights and decorations everywhere in the States at Christmastime, here there are Ramadan lanterns (called "fanoos" in Arabic) and Ramadan Kareem (Happy Ramadan) signs everywhere.  And I mean EVERYWHERE!

If you live long enough in Egypt (as in over a year), you will experience Ramadan.  It is the 10th month in the Islamic calendar so you really can't miss it because it comes exactly once a year.

Ramadan is a month of fasting but I have never seen them eat more food.  Granted none of that food is eaten during daylight hours, but still a LOT of food!  I read somewhere that Muslims eat more food during the month of Ramadan than they do the rest of the year.

The breaking of the fast together is a big deal too.  The meal that breaks the fast is called the "Iftar."  Most companies will host a special Iftar meal for their employees, Muslim or not.  And there are certain foods and drinks that are traditionally served at a Ramadan Iftar.  I have only been to a handful of Iftars, but one drink I found particularly good was made with dried apricots and milk.  Sorry I can't remember the name but it was yummy.

It is definitely a different experience living in Egypt during Ramadan.  Not only am I a foreigner but I am also not a Muslim so it is interesting to watch it all from the outside.

Kind of makes me wonder what Christmas in America looks like to an outsider...

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