The time has come where every non-Muslim asks their friendly neighborhood Muslim “Not even water?!” That’s right, it’s Ramadan. The time of year where Muslims willingly starve themselves from sunrise to sunset for 29 to 30 days.
You might be surprised when you find out just how many people around you are fasting for Ramadan. And honestly, please don’t feel guilty when you accidentally offer us something to eat, because we are more than happy to take free food and eat it later.
All jokes aside, Ramadan is an amazing time for Muslims because it’s one month where we take time to stop and reflect. And eat some bomb ass food. Ramadan might literally translate to “not eating” but the holiday is centered around food. When it’s time to break fast (called iftar) everyone usually prepares a huuuuuuuge spread of food.
I’m Pakistani so culturally we have foods like samosas, pakoras, fruit chaat, and kabobs. A lot of people go into Ramadan thinking they’ll lose weight but–not gonna lie–you’re probably going to gain some.
When you’re fasting in Ramadan you get up at around 4:30 a.m. for Suhoor and attempt to stuff your face. It feels like you’re that baby gif where she’s half asleep, eating cereal, and crying at the same time.
After that, you go straight back to sleep if you’re lucky. If you’re unlucky, you can’t fall asleep for a long time and before you know it, it’s time to get up for work or class. Muslim people basically turn nocturnal this time of year.
Suhoor can be a really rough time for people who are away from their families, specifically students spending their Ramadan on campus. Usually, Ramadan is a time for family and community, but if you’re stuck on campus like me, it can be hard to get yourself up in the morning.
Pareesa Nabi, a fifth-year studying Food Engineering, has had to be away from family and friends for two Ramadans for co-ops and internships. Nabi’s hometown is Columbus but is currently interning with Frito Lay this summer in Wooster, Ohio.
“Doing Ramadan away from home was difficult,” she remembers. “Not being surrounded by friends and especially family seems to dull the special month of Ramadan, and normally it seems to fly by, but being away from home makes it seem to drag on.”
The hardest part, according to Nabi, isn’t the fasting that you’re used to, it’s feeling alone and separated from other people practicing
“I think you really just have to make Ramadan home wherever you are,” Nabi advises, “so find some key things that you do during Ramadan. Go to the masjid or read Quran daily and really stick with it as hard as it is.”
There are also little things you can do to make simply the space you’re celebrating in a little more home-y. Nabi recommends decorating your home for the holiday.
“Make it feel like a special month to really help you get it into the spirit.”
Once you finally survive the month, you get to celebrate! Muslims have a three-day celebration called Eid al-Fitr. Eid is the equivalent of Christmas for Muslims, but for longer. The first day of Eid you start early to head to the mosque all decked out in your cultural clothing and meet hundreds (and I do mean hundreds) of other Muslims. After that, you party hop and ferociously stuff your face all day. So even if you lost weight this month, it’s all going down the drain in one day.
The next two days are basically the same. You call your family to wish them a happy Eid and continue to eat the foods you craved all month long. Ramadan goes by much faster than you think, and after its end, you question whether or not you’re still fasting before eating that cookie in your hand.
4 Tips To Get To Eid al-Fitr
- Meal prep for your Suhoor. You can cut out so much time in the morning if you already have food prepared. It’s also easier to get up in the morning knowing you need to just pull something from the fridge.
- Connect with other Muslims on campus. Ramadan can be lonely if you don’t have others around you eating at weird times. The Muslim Student Association on campus is a great way to meet your second Muslim fam.
- Make Suhoor and Iftar fun. Take your friends and go out for iftar, whether they’re Muslim or not. You save money not eating three times a day so you can splurge on a nice iftar. One of my favorite ways to make Suhoor fun is going to IHOP at 4 a.m. with a group of friends. IHOP just hits differently when you’re there ridiculously late at night.
- Accept the fact that your sleep schedule will be messed up. But also take time to nap during the day! Currently, my sleep schedule consists of going to bed at 1 a.m., waking up at 4:20 a.m. (blaze it) to eat, going back to sleep at 5 a.m. and waking up at 9 a.m. Basically, seven hours of broken sleep isn’t nearly enough when you can’t drink coffee. Take a nap. You deserve it. •