were a question on "Family Feud," the second most popular answer would be: “To feel what it’s like to be hungry.”
My family would be at a disadvantage. It’s the one answer I'd absolutely refuse to give standing up there next to comedian Steve Harvey with my hand over the buzzer.
Ramadan is the month when Muslims all over the world fast from food and drink between sunrise and sunset. We fast because it’s mandated in Islam – that’s the money answer. Nothing passes our lips, not even a sip of water. And for those who are smokers, well, they’re out of luck this month.
My earliest memory of Ramadan is the sizzle and buttery smell of my mom frying parotta, a crispy South Asian type of bread, in the pre-dawn hours. On weekends, my parents would take us to break our fast at dinner parties with tables laden with five or six dishes. Afterward, my sister and I would spend late nights in the mosque with friends, huddling in stairwells whispering and eating sweet snacks as the adults prayed.
How Ramadan has changed since my childhood
Some aspects of Ramadan have changed over the years. This month is now akin to Christmas. Homes are wreaths are hung on the front door and there is even talk of presents.
The community dinners held at our mosque have doubled in size with tents set up outside even in the cold of winter. Attendees complain of long wait lines and not enough food. Some mosques even hire oversized dumpsters specifically for this month because of all the waste.
What hasn’t changed is that Ramadan, for many of us, is devoid of actual hunger.
Our brand of hunger during Ramadan is trivial
After that first week, my appetite shrinks. My stomach growls less, and the lethargy that comes from skipping lunch is a mere inconvenience. Some of us even do our best work, live our best lives, during those 30 days because we’re more focused, our minds sharper.