For those of you who enjoy celebrating festivities in the latter of the year, namely Christmas, you may be at a loss if you’re in a muslim country. All of your favourite foods are more expensive and alcohol becomes that little bit more expensive. But it is not all that bad, while I missed out on Christmas this year there are plenty of islamic-based events that are still about the same ideology – celebrating something with loved ones.
We spent some time in Jakarta, Indonesia, to get to know local customs and traditions. In September I was lucky enough to be caught up in the ramadan celebrations. I had never really known too much about the celebration except for knowing a few acquaintances from university who would complain about being hungry for a certain part of the year – now it was my turn. The family I was staying with was muslim, but were hospitable to the point where they were offering to keep the kitchen stocked with food for breakfast and lunch, I opted to go without, and instead follow the custom of eating before dawn and after sunset. To be
honest, it was very hard to go without food for a thorough 12-14 hours. I go to the gym quite frequently so for a guy who expends energy it was difficult. However staying with the family and having them as support and in turn giving them lots of laughs at me complaining was helpful.
Now that’s the bad side, the good side, actually, the great side, was the amazing meal time festivities that were put on every night. It’s surprising how much of a joyous occasion it is to eat after a big day of fasting. Every night streets were lined with small stalls of different foods with a festival-like atmosphere where people
would eat, drink, meet other families and socialise.
To say the least, it was nice to experience a small part of what is such a big festivity for so many people in the world. Given, I did not experience the religious side of it except for my host family’s teachings of where Ramadan originated. I enjoyed the whole experience and would recommend to anyone in a similar situation to give it a go.
For me, travelling isn’t just about seeing sights and finding a bar to drink in, it’s about exploring both the cognitive and physical side of a new world, with every single sense available to you. That’s what I will remember when I am old looking back on my journey.