Photo Credit: The Guardian
While it is accurate to report that it is the first day of Ramadan, it is important to note that the festivities began at 2:30 AM in our neighborhood. We awoke to the sound of a loud drum below us as a Ramadan drummer attempted to alert the practicing Muslims in the neighborhood that it was time to wake-up. Dating back to Ottoman times, a ceremonious drummer was designated in each neighborhood to ensure everyone woke up in time to prepare their last meal before their fasting must begin. In some neighborhoods they ring door bells, others simply use a drum with occasional chants and songs to accompany the announcement that there is only a little time left to prepare and enjoy a meal before sunrise.
The sunrise occurred at 5:45 this morning, and the sun will not set until 8:30 PM. From sunrise to sunset, a period of more than 14 hours, people will refrain from anything passing through their lips. This means they will not eat food, drink water, or even use chewing gum and cigarettes. By making these sacrifices in the next 30 days, many people hope to examine their lives and renew their commitment to the tenants and values of Islam. I have infinite respect towards anyone attempting to fast this Ramadan and hope everyone has a safe and rejuvenating fast.