Friday, September 21, 2007

Month of Ramadan

Some of my readers might be aware that this is the Holy Month of Ramadan in the Muslim world. All healthy and able Muslims are expected to fast from sunrise to sunset. As sunrise is about 4:30 in the morning, and the sun is setting about 6 PM in the evening, this is not an easy task. While I'm not expected to fast, it is widely regarded as extremely rude for me to eat or drink anything in public.

Devout Muslims are currently waking up at 4 AM and eating until sunrise. They go all day without food until sundown and then eat until about midnight or later. Most of my students are up all night and are slowly becoming less and less productive. Because the students are understandably more tired and hungry during the day, my school has a special reduced schedule for Ramadan. The school now starts at 9 AM instead of 7:30 AM.

Consequently, my school has set up a special area where students and teachers who don't fast can go during lunch and eat privately. The gym I joined closes for the big meal everyone eats at sunset and doesn't re-open until 8 PM.

My school is also hosting a fundraiser called, "Ramadan Around the World." Each grade is assigned a different Muslim country and expected to put on a big production next Thursday for the school showing how these different countries celebrate Ramadan in different ways. After being assigned Morocco, the seventh graders are getting ready to organize and decorate a big tent with a Moroccan theme. Naturally, some of the responsibility for this falls on the Social Studies teachers, and I've assigned students to make posters about Moroccan culture and society. I'm still trying not to laugh too hard about the irony of me teaching Arab kids about Ramadan.

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