Ramadan Away From Home | The Daily Star

Whether at the level of the general festive spirit, dawaats at your favorite cousin, people honing their cooking skills at home, office workers rushing out of work to go for an iftar with their family, or lights on in homes at 3 a.m., Ramadan is one of the busiest months of the year in our country.

However, what is the experience of young people who have moved abroad?

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The experience can be best described by those who have lived it; a detailed account comes from Mohammed Mehedi Hassan, 28, a student at the University of Düsseldorf, Germany: “The first few days were difficult as it was summer and the sun is setting quite late here. I had to fasting for about 19 or more hours a day, attending classes, preparing for my exams and homework; you can’t really concentrate well when you’re hungry and after you break your fast at 9:30 p.m. at night, you’re tired. “

Mehedi goes on to describe how he managed to prepare the food. “I cooked right after coming home from a conference. I ate a small portion to break my fast, I prayed to Maghrib, then I ate the rest. The leftovers were for both dinner and sehri, as the time between iftar and sehri is not that important. . “As for prayers? He said he prayed regularly, adding,“ The only time it was a bit awkward was during Isha and Fajr’s prayer time. Isha starts from midnight and Fajr is around 3am so it was hard to get enough sleep but it was still manageable. . “

Comparing her still fresh memories of Ramadan at home to the present day, Mehedi said, “Of course, coming here has changed the scenario for me during Ramadan. Back home you fry different foods, cut up different fruits and some days there are special dishes like biriyani, grilled chicken or kabab. Most importantly, you have your family by your side to break your fast no matter what is on the menu. After coming here, you just broke your fast on your own. My mom isn’t there to pamper me with different dishes, my sister doesn’t remind me every minute that I shouldn’t be sleeping right before I break my fast. You don’t have to eat peyaju or Beguni. It’s not like you can’t make them, it’s just that you are on your own and after a long tiring day you don’t feel like making different kinds of food. “

Mehedi also describes his hopes for changes in the pandemic: “In the pandemic everyone has limited work and some have to do homework, so that might give us some free time when we can cook, but another aside, I might not have prayed for Eid namaaz in one Jamaat, due to restrictions. “

Chinese University of Hong Kong * student Rifat Zaman, 21, compared his experiences: “Living abroad has changed my lifestyle, but I never really expected Ramadan to be near. from the epicenter of it. At home, Ramadan meant three things to me: good food, having an excuse to wake up late, and complaining about my family’s hunger. But in Hong Kong, the situation was different. difficulty fasting, but the sudden respect and admiration I was going to receive from my colleagues for being able to fast for so long made the experience interesting. “

* Rifat continues his comparison but this time adds how his prayer habits have changed: “Back home, I would only go to mosques for taraweeh prayers, but in Hong Kong I had more reason to go. The mosque became a symbol of community, of being surrounded by people like me, so I often got on the train to the nearest mosque after work. Iftar was served and the whole community experience was something I really enjoyed. “

He explained what he thought was the most notable difference. “The biggest difference was simply the lack of ‘people’ for the experience. Back home, I had my family, but given the small size and low population density of Hong Kong’s Muslim community, I rarely, if ever, met any. Muslim outside the mosque. “

* Sabah Shabab, 22, remembers what it was like to spend Ramadan without family in Malaysia as a student: “Living without a family as a student is difficult. Either I save my money to order in sehri or be sure to cook ahead. I order homemade food from a Bengali aunt in my building when I crave Bengali food. When I cook for myself, it is especially difficult because of the exams and studies. Overall, this hinders my fasting frequency. But because Malaysia is a Muslim country, professors let Muslim students leave school early and some restaurants are open for hours. sehri it was therefore a plus. “

It can also be a big change for those who have moved overseas with their families, as Biva Afrida, 23, a student at the University of Maryland in the United States, recounts. She commented: “Honestly, the only reason I remember this is because I live with my parents. I was very lucky that my mother, even after she came back from work, was doing her job. better to make iftar. However, I miss the food. preparation we were doing in Bangladesh. We were giving (and receiving) iftar from all the neighbors, something that I really miss since I loved the start one of my neighbors did. Having said that, I think the biggest change is explaining to people on the outside why I don’t eat all day. “

Before you go abroad for education, people warn you about the need to be completely self-sufficient, homesickness, and the sudden urge to wake up and take the fastest flight home, and if it’s Ramadan, potential difficulties you will face. . Whether it’s worse, better, or exactly as you expected, here is the hope that you persevere against homesickness and find solace in what you have near you, while also congratulating yourself on adjusting to the homesickness. unknown situations.

Wherever you are this month, I wish you all a happy Ramadan.

Names have been changed upon request.

Bushra Zaman loves books, art and only being contacted by email. Contact her at [email protected]

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