As a muslim the month of Ramadan which is in our lunar Arabian Calender holds a special place in the heart of all muslims , now for those who are not familiar with it, it’s a month which starts with the viewing of the moon in order to determine the end of the month of Shaaban and the start of Ramadan , in spite that now science has made it pretty easy to calculate moon cycles and although we do actually have the start date of Ramadan on our calendars , yet people still follow the tradition .
In my country the viewing is usually done by the astronomy institute followed after with a celebration and announcement of the beginning of Ramadan , people actually wait until its broadcasted to start calling their relatives and friends to congratulate them by saying “have a generous ramadan”or -ramadan Kareem in arabic and thus social media bursts with well wishes and tags into numerous pictures of lanterns and islamic decorations .
Non muslims sometimes ask me how do you do it? how do you not eat or drink from dawn till sunset? and I always tell them it’s a joy to do so, don’t get me wrong it’s pretty exhausting especially the first couple of days but then you get used to it , it’s a joy like I said earlier cause of the sense of achievement you get with the first sip of water you drink to break you fasting or the first date you eat whether it’s handed to you by a family member or people in the street if you happen to be there .
Aside from the significance of the month in my religion , I love how it’s a chance to truly examine your heart and to question your place in life , although you can do this any time , for me Ramadan provides me with the tranquility and relaxation to do so , it also enhances self discipline ,the very nature of fasting is a very sincere practise because it shows your commitment , after all you can eat or drink in the confines of your home and nobody would know and yet people don’t do it .
what I love the most about this month are the traditions that come with the holiday , lanterns light the balconies along with bee lights and like any holiday you have the overzealous decorators that make you feel that their house has turned into a big ball of fire , parents rush to toy stores to buy themed lanterns that usually have a beloved cartoon character on it for their kids ,spices and nuts are bought buy the kilo , essential groceries are arranged and boxed so people can buy them and give them away to people in need as a way of helping them through the month , teens and kids volunteers wait in front of mosques with foam plates so if anyone has leftover food from the numerous family gatherings that happen this month can donate it to whomever needs it.
I love the songs that I’ve been hearing since I was a child and that play non stop in supermarkets a couple of days before Ramadan ,I love how you can see gradually the balconies lighting up after sunset as people shuffle to turn them on everyday . I love how I can hear the prayers from my house from a nearby mosque and can see the minaret that’s decorated in the distance , it gives me peace and fills me with joy to witness all this ,so whether you are a believer or not I hope you have a holiday or tradition that fills your heart with the warm and fuzzies like Ramadan does for me.