The month of Ramadan is quickly winding down, and Dave and I are more than relieved! Ramadan, for those who do not know, is a month where Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, bad habits, and sexual activities from sunrise to sunset. In Qatar, all food places and malls are closed during the day, due to this month of fasting.
On Thursday, Dave and I chose to fast for a day, and celebrate with others that evening at a community Iftar that CMU held. (Iftar is the meal where they break their fast, which occurs after evening prayers, and sunset).
Fasting was certainly difficult! We woke up at 6 AM and I could not have my usual morning tea and muffin for breakfast. I was shopping with a friend that day, and could not have any food. We stopped at a bakery, and they tried to give me a free sample, and I refused due to fasting. I was surprised at myself!
I also could not drink any water, even in this heat! Dave and I both found it difficult to get through the day. We both suffered some headaches from a lack of caffeine. After a while though, you pass the point of hunger, but then start to get really hungry again as dinner time nears. (Sunset occurs in Doha around 5:30/6:00 PM).
I am honestly amazed that Muslims have the dedication and discipline to be able to fast for a whole month. Kudos to them! One day was pretty difficult, and I can only imagine a month is much more challenging. I can see why Eid ul-Fitr, which is the holiday after Ramadan will be such a big celebration!
The CMU Iftar was wonderful! There was a wide spread of food, and students, staff, and faculty from both CMU and Northwestern attended! It was fun to celebrate with others as they ended their fast for the day also.
I am certainly looking forward to the return of normal hours for malls and food, as well as less traffic in the evening, with people rushing home to Iftar! It has certainly been a challenge surviving our first Ramadan, but we are almost there!
Here is more info if you are interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramadan.