Well, its official: Ramadan is finally upon us, and I am excited. And happily comforted. And getting out the sweat pants.
Look, like many of my fellow Muslims, I absolutely love Ramadan. Its one of those months that puts me at ease and delights me in more ways than one.
And, in Kuwait, Ramadan takes on a special flavor all its own. It’s a month long festival of eating, trashy television, and amusing little social traditions that makes Kuwait the one and only place I’d ever really want to be during this beautiful month.
So, as a special homage to this month that everyone enjoys in one way or another (admit it–you love those deep fried dumpling ball delights), here’s a list of all the things that I personally find endearing, amusing, worthwhile, and just plain awesome about Ramadan and spending it in Kuwait.
- The Make Up Magic Trick – In the daylight every woman looks plain as a milkmaid but come sun down they ALL transform themselves back into vixens of the night (or the Witches of Eastwick) AT LIGHTENING SPEED. The secret? We keep the lipstick hidden in our boots all army-like.
- Three words: GRANDMOTHER’S WALNUT ATAYEF. - ‘Nuff said.
- Flex Them Commercial Muscles, Boys! – Ramadan is to Kuwait what the Superbowl is to the US: It’s a commercial bonanza! Everyone awaits in anticipation the crazy awesome and super creative Ramadan commercials that all the companies put out in celebration of this holy month. My favorites so far? The Wataniya ad, NBK, and Quality-Net’s side splitting Indian rom-com ad.
- Television “so bad, it’s good.” – Of course, the reason why so many companies try to flex their commercial muscles in Ramadan is because TV watching is pretty much a national sport during this month. Turn on your television at any and all hours of the day and you will inevitably find a drama-packed series, a willowy biopic, or a jazzed up game show awaiting your watching pleasure. Head on over to Couch Avenue and check out Jacqui’s uber amazing Ramadan TV schedule for all the details.
- That Feeling – You know the one. It’s that feeling of transcendent peace and unity that radiates in your chest whenever everyone sits down together for futoor after anxiously awaiting the sound of the cannons at Nayef Palace. That lingering warmth that fills the room whenever we all gather around for tea and my grandmother comes in with her tray full of assorted delights. The glowing, quiet happiness in standing in the Grand Mosque on Laylit Al-Qadr, hands raised and voice trembling. All of Kuwait is bathed in an aura of goodwill and spiritual comfort I’m not really sure I can put into words. It’s just a feeling I get that I can’t imagine getting anywhere else but Kuwait. It’s the reason why I take special care to spend every Ramadan in Kuwait, surrounded by this elusively wonderful “feeling.”
So, have a wonderful Ramadan everyone! Be sure to eat up, keep the Qur’an (and the remote) in hand, and cherish this beautiful month for everything that’s its worth before it passes you by and leaves you, once again, without my grandmother’s PERFECT atayef (or maybe that’s just me).
All my love! (Photo credit: AP/Kevin Frayer)