Monday, August 31, 2009

A Ramadan Scene

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset and then break the fast each day with an iftar meal. In Cairo, about an hour before iftar, the streets get very quiet. Most folks are headed home, or somewhere else, to eat.

One of the principles of Ramadan is charity, so food is offered to the needy. One form this takes is tents which are set up around the city—often organized by mosques, business, or private citizens—to provide iftar to anyone in need.

There is another scene that particularly moves me. If you are out at the time the sun sets, currently around 6:20pm, there are groups of young men who hand out food and drink to people on the street or in taxis. Cups of juice, bottles of water, bags of fresh dates. You see them throughout the neighborhood—in the streets in front of mosques or just hanging out in the midans (squares). It is a great scene.

Yesterday, shortly before sunset, I was in a taxi with some friends for a short ride from the metro station, little more than a mile. By the time we got to my apartment—less than a five minute ride, the driver’s car was filled with about 10 bags or cups of dates, some nuts, and a bottle of water. Since I was in the front seat, I got to receive most of it for him.

No comments: