I fasted this year for Ramadan.
Well, I fasted the first day of Ramadan.
Okay, I ate breakfast around 7:30 a.m. (well after sunrise), and then did not eat or drink anything until about 6:30 that evening (well before sunset). So I didn’t even do it right, and it was hard.
I’ve been trying to do this for several years (on the theory that I’m not Christian, and yet celebrate Christmas, nor Jewish yet attend Seders, nor Wiccan and yet spout nonsense. You get the idea.)
I’ve never made it past 3 p.m. before. It’s not so much going without food–that’s easy. No drinking, however, is murderously hard. I found myself thinking, hmmm if I take a shower and water flows into my mouth–who’s to know? (God, Xan. God will know.) I figure, hey, if 1.3 billion people can fast for a month, I can do it for a day. And should– one should understand 22% of the world’s population I think. Next year I’ll add the prayers if I can figure out what they are, and maybe an Eid feast. Not sure I’ll ever make it a full month, even with the promise of a blow-out feast at the end.
Holiday rituals have always been an impenetrable mystery to me, growing up as I did in a household that maintained holiday externals, like decorations, while excoriating the religious underpinning (like God). Ritual is lacking in the lives of seculars like me. And rituals involving deprivation– Lent, Ramadan, Passover, Yom Kippur, are especially unavailable-it’s hard to deprive yourself in isolation. Deprivation binds you with the others thus afflicted; on one’s own it can seem a little silly. I guess this is what makes Weight Watchers work.
Next up on the deprivation list? There’s always No Buy February, but closer in the calendar is Yom Kippur. So–no activities “exercising control over one’s environment” on Yom Kippur? Impractical for me to follow that one every week, although weekly Shabbot proscriptions are a rather lovely binding ritual if done in community. And then there’s Lent– surely I can deprive myself of something that I get to choose for a month? Even if it’s just me?
And I already know those prayers.