For visitors to Morocco, the month of Ramadan can be a very interesting time. One of the great joys is the moment each evening when the fast is broken. Our special correspondent, Rose Button, gives a personal account of a wonderful evening in the Fez Medina.
|Photo: Suzanna Clarke|
Now the setting sun is turning more orange. Every change is like a ticking clock, for once it slips below the horizon the call to prayer will follow and it will be time to break my fast; to nourish and hydrate my weary body with water and food. In one way I am eager for the sun to set and in another , I want its beauty to last for longer.
|Photo Rose Button|
During the month long period of fasting, emotions can run wild. There is a man who normally sits placidly selling cigarettes. Now I see him leaping up and down and shouting to everyone who passes, urging them to buy his cigarettes at low prices. Crowds squabble over the best figs or the last of the juice bottles. But mostly, everyone just waits.
|Photo: Rose Button|
People ask me where I will break the fast and if I say I am alone, I am almost dragged to peoples’ houses. It is not possible to break the fast alone, as we are all in this together.
The sun slides lower and as the first meal is prepared; I can smell the gorgeous food. Today I have found it tough. I have wanted to drink and drink. As it is not an option, I have been dithery and ended up having an afternoon sleep, which felt much better. I still have a day job to do.
|photo: Rose Button|
I am a Kiwi living in Morocco and I am not a Muslim. I have chosen to fast to gain an understanding and link with Moroccan people. I also think of it is an opportunity for me to practice discipline; to learn about my body and how to take care of it. I have fasted before in England and that was different - there was not the togetherness and spirit that I feel here. In England I had to work so could not rest when I felt tired, like I did today. I like being part of this community, this culture, this way of life and want to experience all as many aspects as possible.
It is time for the sun to say goodbye. I hear the canon fire, which is the signal to eat, and then the call to prayer sounds and enjoy it even more than I usually do. In the minutes that follow there is an unusual silence in the city; no traffic and no talking as everyone disappears into their houses to break the fast with friends, family or with someone they dragged off the street.
|Photo: Rose Button|
Hamdoulah bezzef! Ramadan Mubarak said.