Ramadan 2015 – II – The Great Soup Exchange

Foods for Ftor: Chebakia, Eggs, Harira, Dates, Lemons and More

Foods for Ftor: Chebakia, Eggs, Harira, Dates, Lemons and More

Ramadan is known to most non-Arabs as a month of fasting for Muslims. What is not so well known by these same people is that Ramadan is a month of fasting and feasting – every day. The fasting begins before sunrise; the feasting begins at sunset – every day for 30 days.

As with any holiday, religious or secular, Ramadan has special foods associated with it and the ladies in our neighborhood got together and made expanded-family-size amounts of sweets that might be the equivalent of making Christmas cookies in the West.

Moroccan Harira Served with Dates and Sweets

Moroccan Harira Served with Dates and Sweets

However, the real staple of Ramadan Ftor (break-fast) is a soup called Harira. Last year I found a recipe on Google and made a version of this soup for our Ftor Party that we had with our international group. We all thought it was delicious (and it was) but a comment from a Moroccan guest let us know that it was not his idea of what Harira should taste like. This year I found out why he had said that. The soup I made last year bore no resemblance to what I learned to make this year. Continue reading

Ramadan 2015 – I

Mosque on the Hill at Sunset

Mosque on the Hill at Sunset

Last year was my first experience of Ramadan. I put my toes into the water, so to speak, of this holy month of fasting and prayer by joining my Moroccan neighbors for three days of complete fasting. As Tomas and I were living among a group of international travelers, I was pretty much “on my own” for those three days but even so, I felt the community support of the practicing Muslims around me. Tomas supported me from the sidelines but did not choose to join me at that time. You can read about my first experience of this Islamic tradition in these blog posts: Ramadan 1,2,3.

This year Ramadan has been entirely different for us. Being that we are living in the compound of an extended family and have numerous Moroccan friends and acquaintances, Tomas and I realized that we needed to consider carefully “if” and “how” we would take part in Ramadan. As I have stated previously, we chose to do a modified fast from 9AM until Sunset, which is close to 8PM at this time of the year. Continue reading

Ramadan I — The Fast (Sawm)

Have A Blessed Ramadan

Have A Blessed Ramadan

When I lived in the United States “Ramadan” was a vague concept for me. I did not know any people who practiced Islam. I had a very sketchy understanding of what Ramadan was about and really no direct reason to delve into understanding it better.

With my arrival in Morocco that changed.

What I’m about to share with you through several posts is MY PERSONAL account of Ramadan as seen through the eyes of a western, non-Muslim who suddenly found herself in an Arab country where Ramadan is a BIG DEAL that is observed by the majority of people – some of whom are my new friends and neighbors.

In short, Ramadan was about to impact my life – an unavoidable fact – and I was going to have an opportunity to gain more insight into the reality of the culture and religious practices of the Moroccan people. Looking at Ramadan as a context for me to learn about people allowed me to open my mind and heart to something I had never considered doing before:

Joining them in a three-day “solidarity” fast to see what this holy month of Ramadan was like for THEM. In doing so, I learned a whole lot about MYSELF.
Continue reading