Jordan: Ramadan

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Hello! I can’t believe it is almost June! I am officially 2/3rds of the way through my stint here in Jordan and I honestly cannot believe how quickly the time has gone by. While I’m not looking forward to the weather getting any warmer than it already is, I am looking forward to the end of Ramadan. This year the Holy month started on May 6th and should be coming to a close sometime within the next week. Before traveling here, I had never really given the customs of the month a thought.  But I can assure you, after enduring it for the last 3 weeks or so, I have the utmost respect for all who choose to participate in the heat of the summer.

Ramadan has provided me with new perspective on religious liberties and how they may affect others outside the religion. Business hours are flipped upside down and streets are left empty until just before sunset every day. The only restaurants open during the day in my area are McDonald’s and Subway. Basically, stores of all types are closed until the breaking of the fast or until 9pm.

I typically only eat once a day with or without Ramadan, but my one meal has been pushed from 4-5pm to 7-8pm. The food is not as much of a problem for me as water. I don’t understand how so many can go this long in the heat without water. The temperature has been in the upper 80s and over the last week has stayed around a constant 95 degrees.

Although it has certainly been a bit difficult having limited access to food and water during the day, the night life has been really fun. People come out of the woodworks to fill the street, sit in cafes, and hang out during the evening. This has made for a lot of entertaining nights in cafes with playing cards and friends. I have thoroughly enjoyed my share of midnight hot teas and juices. I have hope that this trend will continue even after Ramadan.

Truthfully, I am ready for things to go back to normal. I am super thankful and privileged to have been able to experience the traditions of Ramadan in an Arab country, but am really looking forward to being able to drink water in the streets again. The best advice I can give for anyone not participating: stock up and keep food and drink in your apartment. Also, be courteous to those who may be partaking as they definitely deserve a lot of respect for the commitment involved.

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