August 25, 2009


Its the month of Ramadan when devout Muslims are supposed to fast during the daylight hours; refraining from both food and drink. In some countries this can be taken very seriously, forcing all restaurants & teahouses to close and anyone seen in public violating the fast can be get in trouble though the Koran officially exempts non-Muslims & travellers(ie Haji, tourists, people who are traveling to another city, etc).

Azerbaijan generally isn't very orthodox in it's interpretation of most Islamic strictures. Vodka is common & plentiful(Thanx Russia!), pork is sometimes available, and so on. Ramadan also isn't so strictly observed, atleast up here in the northern Quba-Qusar-Xachmaz area known as the First Finger. Resteraunts and teahouses are open and people are eating icecream & drinking tea in public.

Maybe its just indicative of the people I know but nobody I've talked to observes the fast at all. Indeed, the only possible indication I've seen of the Ramadan season is the removal of the alchohol aisle from our local supermarket, MeqaMarket. Though this occured 2weeks before Ramadan started and alchohol is still sold in the refrigerated aisle.....and rumor mill says it has more to do with the company being squeezed for more "taxes" and the supermarkets imminent shut-down.

Until I got on the internet this morning & read an article about worries that this years very early Ramadan could cause health & dehydration problems for some of the observant I had entirely forgotten it was Ramadan. On the first day of Ramadan I joined in a business lunch with some local entreprenuers & technical assistance experts wich included a bottle of vodka celebrating an agreement to launch a new project and yesterday around 14:00I was pulled into a resteraunt by some aquaintances who were having a kebab & vodka party who insisted I join them. Sadly I couldn't because of a prior agreement but it all goes to show that a number of folk up here a fairly liberal about the tenents Ramadan.

For a random example of how Ramadan can be in other PC countries try this or this blog entry.

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