Ramadan Kareem

 Ramadan started almost two weeks ago and there's still another two weeks before Eid ul-Fitr which marks the end of the fasting period. At this time, all healthy Muslim adults abstain from food, drink and sex. They also strive to maintain calmer dispositions and to be nicer and more giving towards others. Work-wise, the locals are required to work a mere maximum of 6 hours per day and work hours are adjusted during the month. It's the month of slowing down and reflecting.

For expats like my family, it also means that we can't be seen eating or drinking out in public from sunset to sundown. If caught by a mutawwa, the person will either be heavily censured or, worse, get hauled off for some jail time. We also avoid being out on the road during sunset because drivers will be rushing to get home for iftar after Maghrib prayer. For men like my husband, who find it very hard to let another car just pass them, it's definitely a bad idea to be in the middle of that traffic rush because Saudi drivers go even crazier than usual.

Most shops and malls are closed the entire day and open at 9 pm until two in the morning. We went to the mall last weekend and when we first arrived, the place looked dead with just a few people walking around. But by the time we headed for home at around 11, the place was packed with families who were enjoying their time together. I guess if you're interested to see the natives in action, that's the time to be out and about. As for us, the late shopping hours have prevented us from going out as much because my son is usually asleep by 8:30 in the evening and it would be cruel to keep him awake just for that. Luckily, the Filipino market is open in the mornings (yes, you can buy food stuff -  you just can't eat them in plain sight) so that's the time we do our grocery-shopping.

Personally, I can't wait for Ramadan to be over so we can go back to our relatively normal lives and, of course, enjoy the sales during Eid.

Mood Music: Slow Down by India Arie


  1. I went out during the night for the first time (on Ramadan) and I agree the drivers go crazier. But in a way, I appreciate the lively streets. It looks like Christmas.

  2. Yep, it does look a bit like Christmas with lights strewn all over the streets and buildings. Makes me wish I was home for the holidays. :-))


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