Saturday, September 23, 2006


Today is the first day of Ramadan for our family. Traditionally, Ramadan begins with a moon sighting -- the first night of the new moon marks is the first night, and people begin their fast the next day. This can lead to some uncertainty about the proper time to start fasting, and it seems that not every agrees. The uncertainty is limited to a day or two, though, so by tomorrow everyone will be fasting together, and will continue for the rest of the month.

I have a lot of intentions for this month. It can sound intimidating, to fast every day for a month, but it can also be a good opportunity to step back from routines that may have become ruts, to evaluate and reflect, to try to be better. And of course, no matter how hungry or thirsty I get, I know that evening is coming and I can break my fast eventually. Not everyone who lacks food or water has that luxury.

People ask me a lot whether children fast. In general, the answer is no. I know families where the children fast maybe for one day out of each week, or for part of a day rather than a full one. Those are options Ziad and Maya may or may not choose to pursue. As they get older they can participate more if they want to. To me, fasting only has meaning when you choose to do it.


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