Ramadan Series, Day One

Posted on August 14, 2010

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The First Day of Ramadan

Tuesday night  before bed, my husband planned to get out of bed before sunrise to drink water, eat, smoke, and pray.   At 4 am, he woke up, drank, smoked, and went back to bed.

Ramadan really starts the week before when the global Muslim community speculates on the date of  the first day of Ramadan.  The date changes every year, based on sighting of the Hilal (crescent moon.)   Thousands and thousands of websites, forums, chat sites are alive with the chatter of when the crescent will show itself.  Last week my husband came home and announced “Ramadan starts next week.  Probably Wednesday or Thursday, BUT maybe…… Monday.”  A much earlier day will always be thrown in, “MAYBE Monday.”  I always a gasp, and “wallah?!   “Really?!”   I think it’s really just a call to action to prepare ourselves for the next 30 days of fasting and the type of schedule needed to make it all work.  I don’t fast, but I do take care of our toddler and do all the cooking, and at times, Ramadan can leave me feeling like a single parent.

Getting up at sunrise to eat is always tough for my husband.  He often doesn’t feel like eating, so he just drinks water, prays, and smokes.   I thought about him today. Working all day without a sip of water, a bite of food, a drop of coffee, not one drag on a cigarette.   I admire his strength in being able to do this.  Appropriately, he can come home a little cranky sometimes, but mostly I’m impressed with how well he handles himself considering the situation.  I think this is where the prayer helps, mentally working to control the natural response of irritation.  Who isn’t cranky when they can’t eat?  All I can say is, don’t come near me if you hear I’ve started Weight Watchers again.  Bee-yatch.

With sunset at 8:07pm, according to the Ramadan Timetable posted on our refrigerator, he had plenty of time to take a nap after work, and before getting up to perform his fast-breaking ritual.  About 45 minutes before he can eat, while I’m cooking, he starts preparing fruits, dates, juice, coffee, a cigarette is laid out.  Everything is prepared, and when the time comes, he breaks his fast with a date and says a quick prayer.  From there he’s moving too fast for me to see exactly what order he consumes things.  The only thing of importance to know is that breaking the fast with a date is a requirement.    One of our local Indian spots, Chutney is a popular place for Muslim families to go to break their fast and they always put out free food and dates.   Being in  a room full of people tasting their first food of the day, a sweet date, is an amazing experience.  Just don’t take anything said or done before that personally.  Things can be a bit quiet and terse at first, but elevate to blissful after dinner.

Tonight’s delights

As I said, tonight went smoothly.  I coordinated finishing cooking and serving dinner with the end of his ritual.  He stayed calm while our cranky toddler waited until after 8pm to have his dinner, but even our toddler was willing to do his part to ease Ramadan in smoothly.  Now their both sleeping, and with 29 days to go, I wonder what I’ll learn about my husband, Ramadan, Muslims and Islam, and myself during this Ramadan.

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