In the U.S., Christmas falls on December 25, every single year. Thanksgiving - the last Thursday in November. Always. Our holidays are set and printed on calendars before the year even starts.
Not so with Ramadan. It was unclear until yesterday whether Ramadan would end today or tomorrow. The month-long holiday is timed around the cycles of the moon, and the imams apparently have to go look at the moon to determine whether it's over.
Last night they looked, and announced: it ain't over. Which means one more day of fasting for the mostly-Muslim population.
I'm no Ramadan expert, so I'll simply refer you to the wikipedia entry if you're curious to learn more. I am amazed, however, at the fact that people manage to fast from sunup to sundown for an entire month. No food or water, during one of the hottest months of the year.
When the movers were here, they hauled boxes in and out all day, without once stopping to swig a drink. Their supervisor kindly offered to leave in the middle of the day for 30 minutes so we could eat. So what did they do while we ate? They went outside, found a shady spot, made prayer mats out of moving boxes and prayed for half an hour.
I'll tell you this. I'm trying NOT to follow the news about people protesting the planned WTC Islamic Center, or churches that are planning Quran burnings. Because it really, really ticks me off. Why is it YOUR business to decide how and where and whether other people should worship? Tolerance, people. It's sorta why America exists. Michael Kinsley said it better than I could ever hope to.
But enough! Don't get me started! I have boxes to unpack and things to put away. My husband was supposed to be here to help on this, the first day of a 4-day weekend to mark Eid al Fitr, the end of Ramadan. But of course, if it's a holiday, there has to be a work emergency, so it looks like I'm on my own for the day.