Perfect timing – Ramadan (رَمَضَان)

Iftar - Ramadan_DinnerWell…some more complications added to our upcoming holiday. Ramadan invited itself to my holiday plans.
My fault, I was not doing my research entirely. Ramadan is not one of the religious happenings that take much of my attention. Obviously like everyone I roughly know what it is about, I have friends who practice Ramadan, but when booking the holiday in advance, I had not at all thought of it.

Actually I more or less realised that the Ramadan had started when I saw that all the muslim tourists have deserted the shopping streets of our city center. Before, all the Gucci, Louboutin, Rolex shops were crowded with women covered from head to toe, and then, from one day to the other they are almost completely gone. Years when Ramadan falls on the summer months is quite a drawback for our hotels who usually welcome a lot of wealthy clients at this moment of the year. But that clientele seems to prefer to have Ramadan in their countries and they usually leave before the festive period starts

But it still took me a moment to make the relation to the fact that the Ramadan will not have finished when we are in Casablanca. So, how will it affect us? Will we have to adapt and not eat during the day, get up in the early morning and have a serious breakfast to be able to make it through without eating until the sunset?

Actually it would be a good exercise from a spiritual point of view but I am not sure to what point I would be strong enough to observe an entire day of fasting. Eating would not be such an issue but not drinking in summer time when it is hot is hard to imagine.  So how will we handle this? Morocco being a country counting on tourism will not be too much touched by the Ramadan although time schedules of shops might be changed a bit in order to allow the staff observing Ramadan to leave a bit earlier. We tourists and other non-muslim persons are exempt but still a bit of adaptation is needed in respect of people observing the Ramadan. I suppose common sense will help, like not eating or drinking in the street, the same common sense that you use when you don’t propose ham to your muslim friends.

So what exactly is Ramadan?

The Muslim year of twelve lunar months is twelve days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, so Ramadan occurs earlier in each Gregorian year.

Ramadan is the ninth month, the month in which the Qur’an was revealed.

While Muhammad was alone near Mecca, the Angel Jibral (Gabriel) told him to read, which Muhammad could not do. Over the next ten days the angel taught the Islamic prophet Muhammed ten verses and these became known as the Holy Qur’an. This occurred during the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, and is called Ramadan.

During this month, Muslims are fasting during the daylight hours from dawn to sunset.  The name came from the time before the Islamic calendar, when the month of Ramadan fell in the summer, so it is often thought to symbolise the burning away of all their sins.  The end of Ramadan is marked by a three-day period of special prayers, feasts, sweets and gift-giving called Eid-ul-Fitr.

I found the above explanation on Complete Morocco (a tour operator specialising in tailor-made holidays for independent travellers). This tour operator is based in England and their site is a source of information about Morocco, definitely making me feel that next time I go back to Morocco I should contact them before. But again, in all their pages of information, Casablanca is hardly mentioned. It appears in the distance and temperature table. Which is reassuring as it announces temperature below of what I expected, so this is a good point. Trying to see every positive point is all I can do, right ? And in the small description of Casablanca they say that it is not terribly interesting for tourists.

Why does this not surprise me anymore ? Casablanca here I come and hopefully I will prove them all wrong and get back with plenty of infos, ideas and nice pictures.