I wrote the following lines a little after 19:20 today (or rather yesterday as it is already past midnight).
About 40 min. ago I heard the Mullah from the nearby Mosque which is the signal announcing the end of the first day of Ramadan. Now Muslims around the world will finally be able to start enjoying the food and physical pleasures they had been denying themselves from sunrise today. This will be the longest Ramadan in the last 33 years. It’s the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and is celebrated by all Muslims around the globe due to the first unveiling of the Koran to Muhammad. During this month Muslims spend the time between sunrise and sunset fasting from any food and drinks, and after sunset they commit themselves to feasting all night. Also during the month traditionally they donate to charities and offer assistance to those in need. Those who are devout regularly spend time in the mosque and commit any spare time to prayer and reciting the Koran. In countries with significant Muslim population during the month of Ramadan any activities noticeably decrease as most people strive to spend the day at home and rest. Fasting during the Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with the Muslim declaration of faith, daily prayer, charity, and performing the hajj pilgrimage in Mecca.
The market today was full with bottles of fresh apricot juice because it is one of the staples of the iftar, the feast at night. The iftar is a social affair where friends and acquaintances gather together at home or outside. Mosques and charity organizations put large tents in public where they offer free food to those who are not able to provide for their own feast.
I will be skipping the feast today but tomorrow there are plans to visit a local family who moved some years ago from Baghdad. They are Arabs and evangelical Christians from a Catholic background.