June 25, 2017

You can add a subtitle: Ramadan – 30 days of fasting, and fasting in the Catholic Church.

Today, seriously, please take note. Well, certainly everyone has heard about it, but what does that exactly mean? By taking the opportunity that I am in Morocco this time, I will try to tell you what this fast is about. Ramadan is one of the most important events for Muslims. This days of fasting are ordered by the Quran. If you want more detailed historical information, I recommend Wikipedia. I will describe it from my perspective (as much as I can) and what I have observed in Morocco.

The beginning of Ramadan.

It begins at night, since I remember (we know each other with my husband probably 8 years old, who would count hehe), Ramadan was always in the summer, but it is a moving holiday and depends on the Muslim calendar and moon phases. I’m not an expert in this field. Before the beginning of the fast, the sky is observed to determine the exact start date. The moon must look like a croissant 🙂 Same with Easter in the Catholic Church. The rule is always the same – Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first spring full moon.

Post and prayer.

Without drinking and eating, without marriage relations, dancing (..), focused on prayer, it is also nice to share with poor people and help them as much as we can (alms). This is how the next days of fasting will look like. But calmly, it’s not that hard. It is a matter of habit, certain renunciation and faith.

Who don`t have to fast? Older people, children, people  who travel or who are sick, as well as pregnant women, nursing mothers and women during menstruation.

When can you eat, drink, etc.? After the penultimate prayer, it is (depends on the country, I am writing about Morocco) about 7.40 pm until about 3.50 am (before 1 prayer). Keep in mind that every day you have to start clean, which means you have to take a shower in order for the fast to be accepted by God. Of course,  I would  not be myself if I did not compare to fasting in the Catholic Church. Fasting among Catholics is definitely welcome. You can refrain from eating, drinking, marital relations, parties, etc. The post runs from dawn to dusk. Reasons may be different, for example, we want to be closer to God, to apologize to Him for sins, to mourn or to ask God to help us with something. But the main purpose is to faithfully accept the attitude of humility and open to God, and also to appear in His presence. That`s how it is in the Catholic Church. Pretty similarly. In the Bible it is said that the best fast is one that is done in discretion. This is an openness to God, who also works in secret. This is to be a humble fast, of our own free will, which opens our hearts and souls. I’m back to the subject. Fast always goes hand in hand with prayer (in both religions). It is good to combine the two.

Is fasting obligatory? Yes, it is. I have noticed that even people who declare themselves as unbelievers (verbally) are obliged to follow this fast. This is also a result of local culture. People who do not eat or drink during the day should be respected.  I understand we shouldn`t  show water to the person who is thirsty or food to person who is hungry, however the penalization of such behavior is quite strict. Pretty recently I learned that there is a legal regulation. You can get up to 4 years in prison and have a high financial fine for breaking your fast. This is what my neighbors told me. Probably only citizens. I asked if it was relative to the offense, it turned out that we have to be respectful for those who fast.

What is the daily life in Ramadan? And how about work? What is the normal day of fasting? In a Muslim country, in Morocco the whole routine of everyday life is shaken. Restaurants, cafes, shops, etc. are closed during the day and opened after an evening meal. Some shops are opened at 2 pm. You can buy groceries, bread (most women bake their bread in the house), chicken. You can also find stalls with fruits, vegetables, fresh mint (for delicious morrocan mint tea). I will tell you funny story hehe Every now and then there are raids of the police that is messing up these sellers. They  have no licenses and permits. They pack their stuff, they go round the corner and either they start trading there, or after a few minutes, as the police leave, they go back to their places. I witnessed such an action, really funny 😉

Muslims go to work during Ramadan, although hours change. According to the regulations, work days can not exceed 8 hours. Work usually starts in the early morning and ends at about 2 pm. For people who have their own business hours are different. It starts around 2 pm, then it is break on food around 7.40 pm and after few hours they come back to work (shop owners, restaurants..). People who finish day at 2 pm go homes where they can rest, sleep until they are called to the table. In Morocco woman is preparing food. The guy relaxes after work. Honestly, I admire those Moroccan women, because they also do not eat and drink the whole day, and they prepare the whole meal. I would say, come on man, come and help me or you won`t eat hehe I am kidding 😉 I say this from my perspective, because here everyone is used to it and it treats it as natural as possible. This is simply another culture and it is important to respect it.


I will tell you that I once tried it and I was fasting for a while, however it was very hard and difficult. It’s probably a matter of habits plus since they are teenagers they start to get use to the process of fasting.. Another thing is that I am from Europe and the summer in Morocco is warm. I can not imagine being full day without water (and stomach too). I will say one thing, give respect to those people who really fast for God from the heart and keep the fast as it should be for 30 days. This is not an easy matter. By the fast I have here also the rules that should accompany it, besides praying and approaching God, it is still treating one’s neighbor with respect, controlling jealousy, avoiding lies, envy (the rules that should apply to every man on a daily basis), whether to avoid pleasure and fun etc ..

Day during Ramadan in brief. I will describe the example of my husband. Each case may be slightly or very different.

We wake up about 3.30 am and have our first meal. It should be nutritious enough to keep a person full for some time. We need to have a lot of liquids and sweets.  I will describe food in a moment. Then one hour rest and you have to go to work. Upon returning, about 3 pm person is already in crisis. The point is that hunger hits you, you are thirsty and tired, without energy. Such a guy lays down and either sleeps, or watches movies, plays xbox, sometimes has to go shopping to replenish his supplies. At this time a great wife prepares an evening feast The man is invited to the salons around 7.40 pm. At this moment he can eat and drink as much as he can. Then you can go to the beaches, see the sights, go shopping, take a walk, etc. Then maybe watch some movie, go out, talk etc. and go to sleep;) Then wake up and have morning meal at 3.30 am etc. I will tell you  that some people exist as before Ramadan. During the day they go to the gym, play basketball, go to the beach or pool. I do not know where the energy is from. Apparently it is a matter of habit. During the day there are 5 compulsory prayers and some extra. In some homes, the Koran is playing for days, you can hear a lot of prayers. During the day you can hear calls for these 5 obligatory prayers like every day in a Muslim country, but also at night you can hear some additional prayers being played through the speakers, and around 3 am you will hear the siren. This is a wake-up call for food. Also, as you can see, in the time of Ramadan, in a Muslim country everything slows down and changes course. Life adapts to an obligatory fast.


Where do we eat? At home, in the restaurant or do a picnic on the beach.

With whom do we eat? With family. It is a special period, just like  Christmas in Poland, which has a meaning only when it is spend with your loved ones and the closest people.

What are we eating? There are several popular foods, sweets and soups that are served during Ramadan. I’ll show you the photos of what we cooked there. The truth is that it is sensless to prepare a million dishes, because a man who fasts all day thinks he’ll eat everything from the fridge, and in fact gets full pretty fast and you have plenty of leftovers. I personally do not like to throw away food, not only because of the money, but also because of the respect to the God who sent us this food and the poor people who do not have it. So we decided to always prepare a meal with a husband – dinner (main meal and maybe soup – 2 dishes) hehe, and mix fruit in order to prepare fresh juice. You will also find some yoghurts with chocolate, cookies, etc., cake, dates, chabakia ( sweets baked in deep oil, coated with honey, sprinkled with sesame seeds, and also filled with nuts, almonds) .. Popular soup is harira (here recipe: tap here 😉) and mixed vegetable soup. You also should find on the table things like: cooked eggs, meloui (oil fried pancakes consisting of several layers), khobz and batbout (traditional bread), pizza, mint tea, cocoa, milk, kefir. Of course, not all at once, hehe I will use my pictures of our meals, but the pictures without the logo are made available by my buddy Ola and her husband Behram from UK. Thank you 🙂 You will see the difference in meals from Morocco and Afghanistan. I just have to add that our meals were Polish-Moroccan Hehe But all homemade and tasty. You know who cooked hehe

What did we eat, all our main meals, as well as the Moroccan and Afghan sweets you will see in the photos below  pasted in the meta slide;)

Well, if I will remind myself something more, I will update the article, but meanwhile, I think it’s enough. Ramadan is conditioned by religion (Islam) and by culture. During Ramadan, man becomes more humble, fights his ego, fights temptations, grinds his character, and strengthens his will. At this time, when thirst and hunger stricken, we should think of the poor, the homeless, who have no food and fight to survive each day. It is a 30-day period of fasting which is made by the free will of the pure heart and it should bring people closer to God and clean their heart and soul.

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