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When in Rome: Ramadan

August 11, 2011

As the old saying goes, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”. I’m not going to Rome. I’m going to Morocco next week, during the month of Ramadan. This will be my first visit to Morocco and I’m intrigued by the whole place and the people, the fact that I’m going during the month of Ramadan is purely accidental, but I’m actually quite pleased.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan (Arabic: رمضان‎ Ramaḍān, IPA: [rɑmɑˈdˤɑːn];variations Turkish: Ramazan) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 or 30 days. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and sexual intimacy with their partners during daylight hours and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and submissiveness to God [Wikipedia].

Basically, they don’t eat or drink during the day. They don’t force this on visitors to Muslim countries, but it’s advised that you shouldn’t ‘rub it in’ and eat in their faces. What I expect will happen, is that during the day it will be quite difficult to get hold of food outside of touristy areas.

Do I join in?

This is the big question, the ‘when in Rome’ question. I don’t think I will be able to answer it until I’m there and observing it first hand. It would be quite an experience (hunger mainly).

Western society has a long history of picking up other bits and pieces of other societies. Particularly with food, as curry is now about as English as a cup of tea… grown in china. However, the main reason behind the fast is religious. It allows more time in the day for prayers, which I won’t be joining in with. As a challenge however, I think it’s a good one, it’s definately a drastic lifestyle change – as is going to Africa in the middle of August where temperatures are likely to be around 40 degrees, while in the UK horizontal rain and jumpers are the norm.

What are the rules

Other than the basics, no food, no drink, no sex, there are other rules. I found this guide for the NHS for patients during Ramadan. The rules that stuck out to me were:

  • The following break the fast:
    • Eating or drinking intentionally
    • Taking oral medication
    • Smoking
    • Using rectal pessaries
  • The following are allowed:
    • Injections (intravenous, intramuscular and subcutaneous)
    • Bloods taken (thumb prick or intravenous)
    • Eye and ear drops
    • Using vaginal pessaries or nicotine patches
    • Eating and drinking out of forgetfulness

So you’re allowed to forget…

What do you think, should I join in?

Today’s non-Ramadan’ed food (so far):
8:20 Sugar Puffs
12:30 Pita x2, dairylee triangle x2, apple, banana

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Lee Fordham permalink*
    August 11, 2011 1:50 pm

    I’d like to see it…

  2. August 12, 2011 7:48 pm

    I think it’ll be interesting to try it.

  3. August 12, 2011 9:02 pm

    I think I will give it a go… I want to eat in the night markets anyway. But breakfast being included at the hotel may be to difficult to avoid!

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