Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Ramadan 2016, Day 3 - Doha News and a Ramadan Cannon

Doha News had kindly asked me to write an article about fasting, giving a non-Muslim perspective. They published it on their website today.

The comments were a mix of positive and negative, like with anything published on the internet. I will address one general point from some comments, that me fasting is weird. Well, yes, non-Muslims fasting during Ramadan is not normal so by definition it is weird. While I am living in this region I prefer to try things like this as a way of learning about Islam and trying to be more knowledgeable about the history and culture (which is of course deeply intertwined with Islam). It's a shame that makes me 'odd' but so be it.

Anyway, yesterday I went down to the State Mosque to watch the Ramadan cannon mark the end of the day. By the time I got there the soldiers had already cleared the kids off of it (check my blog in previous years for pictures of kids on the cannon, in some pictures there's so many kids you can barely tell there's a cannon).

Unlike previous years there was no warning, they waited to hear the call from the mosque then immediately fired. Previously an officer would follow the time then use a flare gun to signal when to fire the cannon. That was what I was expecting so when they fired the cannon I was caught off-guard and didn't even have time to cover my ears. Luckily the blast did not seem as loud as in the past so my ears weren't ringing. Maybe they toned the noise down a bit because it used to scare babies and toddlers.

Afterwards some went home and others broke their fast at their cars with food and water they had brought with them. I had water and a small snack of dates and nuts ready in my car for breaking the fast.

If you're interested in seeing the cannon go to the State Mosque from about 5:45 or so. Hopefully they still let kids play on the cannon. The cannon will fire around 6:20-6:25 (currently at 6:23).

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