Ramadan Kareem

It is Ramadan in Amman, the religious holy ninth month and it started on the 11th of August, I arrived on the 15th, it runs for about a month depending on the cycles of the moon and so on. As the most important religious period for Muslims it involves fasting (refraining) during the daylight as a form of self sacrifice to reflect on God and ones own role in the world. As I understand it this also involves similar ideas to the Christian religion and most other religions for that matter, of doing no harm to others in all forms, one assumes includes other living things and the environment in general.

Eating in public is frowned upon, but Jordan seems to be very tolerant. There is also a large non-Muslim community and a long tradition of both groups living together harmoniously.

At sunset there is much rejoicing over the evening meal or Iftar.

You are probably familiar with the call to prayer. In Jordan the Ramadan Drummer or musaher also makes an appearance, walking through the streets, one and half hours before sunrise to wake people up, this is very effective I must say, so they can consume their pre-dawn meal or suhoor. The drummer in this case is also accompanied by a companion, both male, possibly to guard the drummer! Both chant a mani, short poem, to remind people to get up and get ready to be good during the day.

Whilst I like to think of myself as tolerant person I was relieved to learn that this practice would cease once the 12th of September rolled around, nevertheless and interesting part of the culture.

The problem with the drummers is that they also set off dogs, in my case the lovely huge German Shepard ensconced as a guard dog in the house across the road, and car alarms. Fortunately the one that is set off stops after about 10 rings as if it is simply joining in with the drummers to help amplify their message.

Given the heat that has accompanied Ramadan this year I am sure the fasting has tested many but the Jordanians go about their daily lives with grace and good humour, including taxi drivers!

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