Salwa, KUWAIT – The bell rings at 12:15 p.m. as all the students in my class rush outside to enjoy the mere 15 minutes they’re granted for lunch hour.
My friends and I arrive at the courtyard, but rather than eating and drinking in the limited time provided, we talk among ourselves and try not to focus on our grumbling stomachs. It’s the month of fasting, and eating or drinking in public during the daylight hours is prohibited.
Starting at the age of puberty, during the Islamic Holy month of Ramadan Muslims are required to fast as a demonstration of potent faith to their God.
This year Ramadan begins on the first of September and ends Sept. 30. During this time, most restaurants and coffee shops are closed before the evening prayer at six o’clock. School and work hours are shortened so people can spend additional time with family and friends and focus on praying or reading the Qu’ran.
“All my classes are half an hour shorter and school ends earlier, so school passes by pretty fast,” says Adel Ali, an eighth grader in the American School of Kuwait. “The teachers assign us less homework so we don’t have as much as we did before Ramadan.”
Sure, when you think about it, fasting can get tiresome and exhausting, especially for us teenagers who thrive on high-sugared foods. Everything seems dreary and colorless without the magic of food keeping us lively and active. However, that’s when we truly start to appreciate the poor and experience their dearth of food.
Most teenagers find alternative activities to keep their minds off food in Ramadan.
Kids would be playing basketball at the local court or soccer in the fields near school. Exhausting as it may be, spending energy on different sports activities is one way of not getting hungry.
“We usually just play video games or just watch some TV,” said Syed Asad, a freshman in the American School of Kuwait. “It helps to pass the time by and they usually have good shows on before the prayer.”
I’d find myself resorting to activities that would normally never be part of my routine before Ramadan. Anything that distracted me from my hunger was an option.
Surprisingly enough, I discovered that homework can act as a useful distraction from my hunger.
I found myself working away my calculus and physics homework as soon as I got home to pass the time. Heck, if I didn’t have any of that, sleeping would become an option as well!
Soon enough however, the time creeps along and when the evening prayer time arrives, families gather over the kitchen table and break their fast with traditional foods such as dates, fruit salads, and sambosas, which are fried potatoes covered in light bread.
After breaking their fasts with customary appetizers, families indulge in their favorite dishes that they have prepared especially for after the evening prayer.
By Sana Ali is a Junior Reporter for Youth Journalism International.