Thursday, September 28, 2006

Have a holly-jolly Ramadan

Happy Ramadan! Or is it Merry Ramadan? How about Happy Holiday for you PC folks out there?

Ramadan started September 23rd so I’m a bit late with my Ramadan well wishes, but as they say رمضان رمض رمضان!!

Wikipedia on Ramadan:

Muslims believe that during Ramadan, the revelation of the Qur'an to the Prophet Muhammad began. The entire month is spent fasting from dawn to dusk. The first day of the next month is spent in great celebrations and rejoicings and is observed as the ‘Festival of Breaking Fast’ or `Eid ul-Fitr. Allah (God) commands Muslims to fast just as Christians and Jews were instructed to fast by their respective prophets, examples being the practices of Lent or Yom Kippur.

I was in Kosovo and Bosnia during Ramadan a few years ago. When the sun went down a canon went off and prayers would begin to spill from speakers atop minarets. Depending on were you were you could hear several different half sung, half wailed prayers. Then the streets would come alive with people and shops that were closed would open.

One evening back at my hotel in Prishtina, shortly after the call to prayer, the kitchen sizzled with food and conversation. After a day of fasting it was time for some feasting. I turned in early, but it was hard to sleep. Feasting entails a lot more than not eating. No sex during the day either, which apparently was a big deal for the occupants of the rooms above and on both sides of me. First there was the noisy, over-dramatic hay rompin’ upstairs, then to the room on my left, then to the room on the right. The weird thing was that through the pillow wrapped around my head it sounded like the same starlet in each room. Eventually, I cranked up the BBC World News on the TV and fell asleep.

Looking back at the experience I can’t help but wonder if it was a hotel or a brothel.

I really need to forge some PG Ramadan memories to bump out the X-rated ones. It’s on my understand-other-cultures-through-travel to do list.

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