When you live in a country as Kuwait, you have to be prepared to live with the religion. Obviously, there are the pray calls and all the Muslim days that you are not used to in your country, but for me the biggest shock is always during Ramadan. This year, the holy month was during summer. How can we live when it’s 50 degrees outside and to eat and to drink are liable to a fine… even a few days in jail ?
I won’t write about what is Ramadan because I am not an Islamic specialist, not even a Muslim and religion and faith are for me so private that I don’t want to talk about it. There is no “good” or “bad” Muslims because the relation you have with God is really personal, so I am not going to make a list about what is allowed or not because I don’t know a lot about it. So, from what we are talking about today, the most important thing to know is that the month of Ramadan is the “Holy Month” and you have to fast during this month.
A changed work pace
At school, when the year finish, we start thinking about the dates of Ramadan (we only have the dates after observation of the moon, so you can’t really know it one year before) to do our schedule. During the Ramadan, we can’t have the right to make the show at the end of the year. Our work schedule is changed : instead of having five hours at school, I only have three. It’s the same in the whole country : so be careful, don’t go to the bank at the usual time, you might be in front of a door closed.
Restaurants are all closed and opened a little bit before Iftar (the time you break the fast) but, by respect, it’s written that it’s not allowed to eat or drink before Iftar. A few days before the beginning of Ramadan, you can see a note on social media : if you are caught drinking or eating during Ramadan, it’s a 100KD fine (around 300euros) and you take the risk to end up the month in jail. We don’t drink, we don’t eat and we don’t smoke outside.
But honestly, it’s like 55 degrees outside in the middle of the day, so I am not sure that, even if it wasn’t Ramadan, I would love to walk around outside.
A pause in your life
But, when I look at the promenade, it’s empty the whole day. My area looks like a ghost city : nobody is the streets, restaurants are closed, some grocery store are closed too and a lot of shops are closed. In the mall, the schedule change and my building is really quiet, nobody in the pool, it’s like all the neighborhood just left Kuwait. Streets are empty. Parkings are full. Supermarkets are open 24/24 and at 3pm, they are full of people who are doing their groceries to prepare Iftar. We cook to forget that we can’t eat. And we (actually… “they” because i don’t know how to cook) cook a lot and well ! If you are invited, be prepared to eat a lot.
Then, after the call to the prayer, it’s like a new morning : you start hearing again the sounds of the car, some shops closed during the day stay open until late at night, the restaurants are full at night, people go out to walk around, kids play, some family takes their food to eat outside and it’s like a new life who starts at night.
I like it. Maybe because there is kind of a holiday smell outside. Everything seems calmer, it’s like I am more peaceful, less stressed and ready for everything new.