Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fasting... oruç

     Today was the last day of Ramadan today in the Islamic world. For those of you that don’t know, Ramadan is the month of fasting to Muslims. This means that Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, and all sexual relations from dawn to dusk. Also, they pray more than usual and even people who don’t normally practice the religion often go to the mosques and pray. Nowadays, less and less people fast during this month, but my host family does.

To read more about fasting look at this:

     At first I wasn't going to fast, but in the end I decided to do it. Ramadan this year was from August 11 to September 8 and I arrived in Turkey on the 5th. My first few days, Melis and I were the only ones eating during the sunlight hours. She is still young so she doesn't have to fast. Around 3 or 4am each morning we hear drums in the streets waking people up to eat their breakfast before the day begins. They have to eat before the first call to prayer. They also have to brush their teeth because they can't drink water during the day. After, they go back to sleep for a few more hours before their day begins, and are able to eat at 7pm in the evening. My first 2 days I did not fast. I wanted to maybe do it in order to experience what they go through, but I was very tired from traveling and I wanted to eat, haha. My third day I told my family I wanted to fast and they laughed. They didn't know why I wanted to do this and they didn't take it that seriously. That morning when I heard the drums I couldn't even open my eyes because I was so exhausted. I decided that I would fast the next day if I felt up to it. That morning I had breakfast around 9. After a few hours we went into the city and I decided that I wouldn't eat lunch. It would be a half fast. I fasted for 10 hours with the exception of water. The real way to fast is to not drink water, but I felt dehydrated and knew that drinking water was the correct thing to do. I decided that I would fast the next day, as it was the last. 

     This morning Fulya and Melis came into my room to wake me up. I hadn't heard the drums and had apparently slept through them because I was so tired. I wanted to fast though. We had a great breakfast of crepes, tomatos, cucumbers, olives, cheese, honey, and tea. That was the first meal where I didn't have my translator and we actually got by! I went back to sleep after and woke up around 10:30. I already felt hungry! I knew that it was going to be difficult, but I was going to do it. I chose to drink water in the morning even though my family told me that wasn't true fasting, but I always drink a lot of water and especially since it is hot out I didn't want to get dehydrated. Previously I had a headache from not drinking enough water, and feeling sick my first few days here would not be a good choice.

     We stayed in the house most of the day relaxing, watching TV, and talking a lot. Around 2 I started to get really hungry and from then on all I thought about was good. I started to watch the new episode of Top Chef that I missed, but I had to stop because I really wanted to eat. Then Melis ate a snack and I was hungry. The afternoon went by so slow because all I wanted was food. At one point I realized that I wasn't really hungry, it was just that it was so tempting to eat food. I couldn't eat anything, not even a taste.

     Around 5:30 we started to cook and bake for the meal that night. I didn't really understand what we were making, but it was a carrot cake. We had dates, köfte (Turkish meatballs), french fries, tomatoes, cucumbers, and bread. I forgot to mention that at 7 o'clock every night, when the Muslim's break their fast, they start by eating a date. I had about 5 tonight haha. They have to wait until after the 5th call to prayer of the day to eat, which is a little after 7 o'clock. We were basically praying that the call to prayer would happen so that we could eat. It was so hard!
making dinner

carrot cake! to celebrate the end of Ramadan

begining the meal with a date
     Today I had a discussion with my host mom and sisters about why people fast. I explained that many people don't have food in this world and it is to understand a little of what they go through. I always have food and I almost never have to wait to eat, so this was a very difficult day for me. In the afternoon, all I wanted was food, but I knew I couldn't eat it. I wanted to fast to have the experience and I wanted to actually acomplish it and not break my fast early. Luckily I succeeded. I was joking with my family that it was the Best Meal Ever! but it was very, very good. My host family didn't actually think I would succeed, but when I did they gave me congratulations! Now, I have so much more empathy for people in starvation.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.