Today is the first day of Ramadan in the Sultanate of Oman! To all my Muslim and non-Muslim friends…Ramadan Kareem! Muslims around the world are celebrating the Holy month of Ramadan, the holiest in the Islamic Calendar, refraining from eating, drinking and smoking from sunrise to sunset.
In detail these news have already been covered by a few local bloggers who may have a lot more insight into the A-Z basics of the Holy Month. Please refer to “blogs I follow” below, to read some wonderful insights.
My personal opinion is very humble; I understand the concept behind it and respect those who obediently fast by the rules. It is a time for thought and change and reflection. It brings families closer together and highlights important aspects of our society; such as charities.
To my friends back home, if you are wondering what social changes take place during this month, I will happily explain. The first signs of approaching Ramadan emerged when a memo circulated around work explaining that we are not to eat, drink, smoke or chew gum in front of fasting colleagues. My bottle of water is now well hidden behind my monitor. I also call up Alex every few hours to remind him NOT TO SMOKE in public places. He now hides in a corner at work and smokes away quietly. It is his first Ramadan in Oman, and he is a little hazy on the rules.
A little FYI:
-alcohol shops do not operate during the Holy Month of Ramadan
-pubs and bars do not serve alcohol
-hotels serve alcohol to in-house guests only
-almost all stores are closed during the day
-business comes to a halt for an entire month
-those fasting only work 6 hours a day in the Sultanate
We are also encouraged to wear decent clothing as not to offend those around us. I have hence traded my uniform skirt for pants today, as to not take any risks. In all, Ramadan does not affect those who do not fast, much. My only struggle during Ramadan is grocery shopping – 4 days ago I spend an hour in Sultan Center supermarket, in line. There were hundreds of people there, obviously preparing for the celebrations ahead, and the supermarket was simply not equipped to deal with the flow of irritable customers. I have also heard numerous tales of the dangers of driving during Ramadan, as most are sleepy and in a rush to get home from work. It is also a challenge to adapt to the changed schedules of store timings, as everything opens from 8 pm on and will continue to work till late at night! But apart from that…it’s a piece of cake… which is also below:
Day 59 of Project 365.