Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Today is the last day of the Muslim holiday, Ramazan (or Ramadan). Traditionally, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, the month in which Muhammad received his revelation of the Qur'an, is dedicated to fasting from sunrise to sunset for the purpose of prayer, good deeds and self purification (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramadan). As explained to us by some friends in Turkey, Muslims will wake in the early hours of the morning to eat before sunrise. During these early morning hours, a person will roam the neighborhoods banging a drum to wake everybody up as a reminder to eat. He usually collects a small payment in return for his services.
Now that we are living in a "Muslim" village, I completely expected early morning wake up calls and hungry neighbors during the month of September. However, as I have found out, for the Muslims in my neighborhood, their "faith" is actually rooted in family heritage. I'm discovering that Islam here is not much unlike Christianity in the States, miles wide, but only inches thick. Yes, we do have a drummer boy. But he doesn't come until well until the late hours of morning. He doesn't wake anybody up, but just tries to collect their money. Although they all claim Islam, nobody I've asked has fasted, and most of my neighbors have never even been in a mosque. The children have today off from school, but the only other sign of celebration I've seen is the making of Baklava. Lots and lots of Baklava.