Saturday, August 22, 2009

Happy Ramadan: Memories of An African Celebration

I wanted to take time to acknowledge the holiday of the Muslims today. Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims where they take time purify themselves and become more pious.

It is a month of fasting from sun up to sun down, which slows down your life in an amazing way. My only experience with fasting is Yom Kipper, but I can tell you that hunger sharpens the mind.

I have very fond memories of Ramadan while in Mali. Besides the welcoming spirit of all of my gracious hosts, it was the first times I had seen an animal slaughtered. I watched every minute, making me feel very close to the holiday and I reveled in eating the bounty that was put before me.

This bounty was the one time per year that the families indulged. They saved for months and months to be able to afford the food, and they shared it with open arms. I left those celebrations full to the gill both emotionally and physically.

I should add that as a Jew (seriously non-observant to my mother's chagrin), it was wonderful to get a to know a faith in way that was so genuine, and may not be possible to experience in other places given my name.

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