What's a moon sighting? Who follows a Lunar Calendar? Why are you SO obsessed with sunrise and sunset?
All VERY legit questions with just as legit answers :)
You see, I am a born and raised Muslim. Some people are a little thrown when I tell them this, which I find interesting, but it is true. This Palestinian/Peruvian wears a head scarf to pray, goes to a mosque, reads the Qu'ran, the whole bit. And I am SO proud of it all! I see and believe that religion is our guide through life. We can lose faith in MANY things: people, our self, the government, the economy, whatever. But the one thing that will actually have you feeling lost is when you lose faith in God. I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason. That the good, the bad, and the ugly are all part of God's plan. I work my hardest to remember this each and everyday and with every trial I am faced with.
So, when the month of Ramadan appears on our Islamic lunar calendar I am utterly excited to unite with my fellow Muslims around the world and throughout Houston for a single cause. It is so rare that something so simple can unite 2+billion people in the world. Its so awe-inspiring to know that I am part of something that is SO much greater than me.
But, HOW do I do it? How do I NOT eat food or drink water ALL DAY?!?!
It's simple. When you break down any sensation that your body experiences, part of it is psychological. It's all mental associations. So, for example, if it was an ordinary day and I just forgot to eat, you can BET I am obsessing where my next meal will be. I will feel light-headed, shaky, dizzy, the whole deal. BUT, when I wake up in the morning, before sunrise to have my breakfast with my hubby, and we set our intention for the rest of the day, something happens. It's almost like counting down the minutes to the last day of school while you are having your end of the year class party. Everybody around you is in good spirits, you are all talking excitedly and enjoying the last few moments you have together before summer and are slightly bummed KNOWING that once that bell rings you will not see anyone anymore, but at the same time it means freedom!!!
Well, thats how fasting feels to me. It's exciting! I know that the hunger I feel is for a great cause. It reminds me, with each grumble and pang that even though I may know that my next meal and drink of water will be here at sundown, there are so many people out there who do not. It helps me to appreciate how much I have been given and how blessed I am. BUT the best part is, that there are so many muslims around me and all over the world who are doing the EXACT same thing. And even BETTER is that most of us are using this appreciation to do good in our community. To give to those who are less fortunate. Because even though we "feel their pain" throughout the day, we know that ours is only temporary, they may not be so lucky.
So, how does it work? We basically abstain from eating/drinking ANYTHING from sun-up to sun-down. Yes, that even means water. Traditionally, we break our fast with a date and some milk, go pray, then sit to eat as a family. Some people will stay up ALL night until sunrise, eating, playing games, reading the Qu'ran, spending time with family. It's always such a great festive time in our households. Then once sunrise hits (or the call for prayer), eating/drinking stops and the fast begins.
This year I am making an effort to make sure that hubby and I do NOT over eat and that we also STILL get plenty of fluids, fiber, vitamins, all in all a healthy diet. Usually this is pretty hard to do, as most meals at home tend to be like Thanksgiving ALL. MONTH. LONG. So, what I decided to do was make us smoothies! O.M.G. I LOVE that I am doing this! I went ahead and bought us a Vitamix on Thursday and have used it 1-2 times a day everyday SINCE! It's AMAZING and I am soooo sad I did not have it sooner! But its ok! I will get over it. The best part though is that I will be posting smoothie recipes that I come up with to help us pack in our veggie/fruit servings! So, keep a look out! For now, I need to go get some shut-eye before I have to wake up to eat breakfast and make us a smoothie!! :)
What is your favorite religious time of the year? Any fun traditions? Can't wait to hear all about it!
from sunrise to sunset,