So, by general consensus, Thursday, June 18th appears to be the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Starting tomorrow until the 16th of July, from the crack of dawn to the setting of the sun, something like 20% of the world’s population will throw their daily lives topsy-turvy by fasting all day and eating (and partying!) all night. As this lovely article on Quartz will tell you, in the Middle East, most if not all restaurants close during the day, and in some cities, work hours are reduced by law to accommodate observers. And I can personally attest to the level of $$bling$$ in Middle Eastern mosques: when we moved from Bangladesh to Washington, D.C. in 2001, my parents made a pit stop in Saudi Arabia for an umrah, a smaller version of the famed hajj pilgrimage all able Muslims are compelled to perform (my parents had done their own hajj a few years prior.) This was an extremely important visit for me, primarily because it was the first time I’d gotten the opportunity to taste a McDonalds cheeseburger (spoilers: it was absolutely fucking delicious. They don’t make ’em here like they do in the Middle East.)
My schedule this year is going to be largely the same as it was last year. Wake up at 3-4 AM and scarf down entirely too much food. Poop some of it out, pray, then go to sleep again and snooze til noon. Wake up (again) and then head to the mosque to help set up tables and chairs for the elderly, and then go home to bitch and moan about how hungry I am while lying on the sofa. Come back at 8 PM for prayer, and then a large communal dinner with the rest of the congregation during which I scarf down entirely too much food. Go home with a plate of leftovers (there is ALWAYS leftovers), and then proceed to snack and graze all night before going to bed briefly before waking up at 3-4 AM. Rinse and repeat. (Incidentally, I tend to gain weight during this month. It is left as an exercise to the reader to ascertain why.)
For those who don’t know, Ramadan starts something like 2 weeks earlier every year. This means some fasting periods are worse than others; during the winter, the late dawns and early dusks make fasting a veritable cakewalk in North America. The summer Ramadans, on the other hand, kinda suck. I first began fasting something like 6-7 years ago, and so it’s literally only gotten harder every year.
To be quite frank with you, I only really fast because it’s a communal thing I do with my family. Assuming I manage to land an internship for next summer that’s not in the D.C. Metro area and so will live by myself and won’t have the luxury of spending all summer on the couch, this will likely be the last time I fast religiously (lol) during Ramadan for the foreseeable future. But I won’t worry about that for now; that’s something to consider for next time. Instead, I’ll just cherish this tradition with my family while I still can.
So with that all said, let’s ea-
P.S. This was not just an excuse to spam gifs from Blood Blockade Battlefront, I swear.