Behind the Ramadhan & Eid Mubarak

It has been day 7 after Ramadhan. It might be a little bit late but I would like to say Happy Eid Mubarak for those who celebrate it. I believe most of you had a really happy celebration back then. And by most of you means not all of you. We all know that some of our brothers and sisters all over the World had to have a quite hard times during Ramadhan & Eid, if you know what I mean. Let’s have a moment together to pray of the World peace and can’t we all just be normal friends that doesn’t involve any murder for God’s sake! Mind my temper.

Anyway, speaking about Ramadhan & Eid, I didn’t had the best time either this year. I know, I know you’re all gonna be saying “Wait, aren’t you in an Arabic country? The experience must be more real over there!”

First of all let me explain to you that Arab and Islam is a two total different think. Arab is what people call some Countries around Middle East with ruling governments and their people. But Islam, is a religion that every single one in any corner of the World can believe in, not only for people in Arab Countries can be Islam. Ramadhan & Eid, is an Islamic celebration, not Arabic celebration. So make no mistake just because you don’t live in Arab countries, doesn’t mean that you can’t have what you call as the real Ramadhan & Eid experience. What’s that real experience supposed to mean, anyway? Duhhhh.

Back again to my story, this year’s Ramadhan and Eid was the very First time in my 23 years of life to be away from home. Separated 6931 Kilometers away, I felt like there were some socially different ways between Ramadhan & Eid in Bahrain and Indonesia as I will describe below.

1. Restaurants & Cafes policy

If you own a restaurant, or you work in a restaurant in Indonesia, Ramadhan will be one of the busiest time of the year, especially after Iftar. As a country which is not ruled by the syariah law and recognize some other religions other than Islam, restaurants, cafes, and any other public place to eat are legally open during the day time when Moslems are fasting, and everybody are just fine. Ramadhan is usually used as the time for gathering. It’s either family gathering, office, school, tons of reunions from your elementary until college friends. I remember I had more than a half time of Ramadhan for tons of iftar invitations out of home that made my mom a little bit mad. #SorryMama. This whole thing, causes the restaurant business to be on top of their games. Imagine, wherever you go, restaurant will be busy and full booked in most of cities in Indonesia. This is the culture that I really miss. To meet some old friends while spilling some old secrets and jokes. Especially for me and my close friends, going Karaoke after iftar feast is a must!

But then in Bahrain, think later if you want to open your restaurant during daytime. Even if you just hold a bottle of water, man you’re gonna be in some serious business. Zero place to eat is open during the daytime (So stock your food if you are not fasting!). Iftar? Well, not really either. Apparently Ramadhan is the least busy time of the year in Bahrain. People here do not really have a culture that they will go out for outside iftar with their friends and relatives. Thus, some restaurants are even closed for the whole month. Many of them use this least busy “opportunity” to do some renovations to their restaurants so they will have a kinda new look for after Ramadhan. Most people are going out outside after tarawih (a special preayer that we just do in Ramadhan). Malls and Parks will be busy as they’re open until just before sahur. Interesting, eh?

Eventough the Malls were open from morning, the restaurants were closed and started to open on iftar time

Eventough the Malls were open from morning, the restaurants were closed and started to open on iftar time

2. Alcohol Banning

As a country who legalize Alcohol to be sold in permitted places, Ramadhan is an exception in Bahrain. It is extremely illegal to sell any Alcohol or anything that contains alcohol at all. This year’s Ramadhan was somehow a coincidence with the kids’ summer holiday. No alcohol, a god damn hot weather, not really much business happening, most expats chose to leave the country for a moment to escape, and maybe have some champagne 😉

3. Timing

Geographically, Indonesia is located right in the middle part of the Equator line (And I don’t understand why aren’t we called as the Middle Eastern instead). So in terms of timing, there is no significant time different throughout the years. It makes us always have the same time every year to do fasting and having prayer. Indonesian fasting is usually done from the sunrise around 4 AM until sunset before 5.45 PM. In the middle of summer heat, we actually had to fast longer here. The sun raised earlier around 3.15 AM and set later 6.35 PM with a hotter weather.

Also for the Eid prayer. Indonesians usually do it around 7 AM but since the Sun raised earlier in summer, they do it around 5 AM. Way too Early for the Indonesians. LOL. Luckily the Indonesian Embassy also held the Eid prayer and thank God it followed the Indonesian time at 7 AM. We were also treated some Indonesian Eid-special food by the embassy as their way to make us feel like home. Thank you Indonesian Embassy!

4. Eid Tradition

For Moslems in Indonesia, Eid is probably the most anticipated day in a year. It’s a big celebration day after a full month of fasting in Ramadhan when the whole family are gathering together. As it is most associated as a holly day and people are supposed to have zero sin (start again from the beginning as like we’re reborn), We have to make it socially too instead of just to God. People are supposed to apologize and forgive each other, especially the ones they no most so there won’t be anymore hurt inside their feeling if there was any. This moment makes Indonesian family have this tradition where they go to their family’s relatives’, and neighbors’ houses and have a nice chit chat or doing things they like together. The hype of Indonesian Eid can last to 3-4 days, can be so much more in smaller towns due to their big culture.

In Bahrain, I don’t really know exactly but as I heard, they also go to their family’s house but maybe not as intense as in Indonesia. You know how I know? Restaurants are super busy on the day of Eid! The official public holiday was 3 days and all the seats in any restaurants were full booked. It was maybe some kind of a revenge of the past month where people barely eat in the restaurant. Many restaurants were interestingly had some DJs to entertain the guests on Eid night. It is so interesting that we don’t really have those things going on. Indonesians Eid is more cultural, religious, and intimate. The province capitals will be less crowded as people will go home just for Eid in their hometown (What I understand is that Bahrain is such a small country that you can just travel the whole country in just 2 hours, so the whole land is hometown). It was a totally different feeling of having the two Eids in two different Countries. I would for sure chose to spend it home but it was also interesting to discover more tradition.

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Malls and Restaurants were the most crowded place during Eid

Overall, the experience had been just fine. It was sad that I could not make it home but you know, this heart of mine is made to travel the World. I enjoy getting a new experience in a new place and who knows in which place will I spend my Ramadhan and Eid next year (and oh yeah, I am open for any invitations. haha).

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