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September 12, 2007

Ramadan Kareem

This year's Ramadan will start tomorrow. It will be my 4th Ramadan holiday here in Qatar.

The holy month of Ramadan is the most important and most awaited holiday of Muslims. During this time, for one month, Muslims fast from sunrise until sunset. They do not eat meals and they do not drink any liquid throughout the day. The breaking of the fast (break-fast) at the end of the day is called Iftar. Usually, family members gather together to share a sumptuous Iftar meal. Some families even host Iftar meal for relatives and friends. Aside from fasting, Muslims also devote this holiday to praying, giving, sharing and doing good things.

There is a change of lifestyle during Ramadan. Work hours are shorter. Shops are normally open in the morning until noon. Then, they re-open in the evening until past mid-night. Banks and some offices open certain branches at night to serve clients/ customers. Restaurants are normally closed during the day. Eating and drinking in public or in the presence of a fasting individual is considered disrespectful (that is self-explanatory). Day activities are slow.

There are many promotions during Ramadan - a good time to buy cars and other things.

The Ramadan ends with a Eid holiday. Eid is like Christmas. It's usually a long (3-days) non-working holiday to allow people to celebrate and visit families and friends. Many people also take this oppurtunity to go out of the country for a holiday.

I wish everyone a blessed Ramadan!

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