Around May27… They don’t know exactly when it begins because the religious poohbahs decide by looking at the moon. Gee, do you think science and astronomy might help? Nope! So each year no one knows exactly when it starts (or ends!). It means you have to flexible about closing down your business plus or minus a few days. Yeah, and what if there is a cloudy day? Nope! It’s always sunny and 100 degrees in Jeddah.
I was reminded this will be the first Ramadan I have missed since 2012. That would be: I do not and will not miss being immersed in it. I’m home now. My turf! I’m no longer turned upside down and inside out for an interminable month. No fasting: I never did anyway. No praying: ditto. I was oppressed – a religious minority in a country of zealots. They suppress and care not for any other views. See: censorship. No pork or alcohol or drugs. Ha! Government officials well know how to obtain and even abet their friends. No bibles: of course. Does anyone watch TV or look at the internet? “You can fool some of the people…”
What do I miss? Food as a sport. Each evening at “break fast” it’s like the starting grid at Indy. Ready. Set. Go!!! Everyone gathers at their favorite restaurant. All the restaurants are either closed or are running a special Ramadan break fast special meal. The hordes descend upon the buffet like vultures and leave mere scraps behind. It’s over in 30 minutes or so. The start time is also different between Mecca and Jeddah. The sun sets a moment or two earlier in Mecca. I was fooled/betrayed – the pilgrims started eating (on the 24/7 Mecca TV channel) while it was not yet time in Jeddah. My bad!
Fasting is a duty and reminder – not intolerable suffering. …Yeah, eating as a sport. I will miss the “value” special “break fast” meals. But not too much; my schedule will not be disrupted and I shall be quite content with that. Ramadan will go back to being a background noise in my life. No non Muslims are allowed in Mecca. Ask Dave, we’ve been twice – in one day. And, no, though he tried, he did not look Muslim.