March 20, 2012

Ramadan Festival in Cairo Egypt

The fire was said to have been caused by a short circuit, but there has been some speculation as to why the fire was not discovered immediately and why it got out of control when there was a fire station so nearby. One of my journalist friends suggested it might have been because it was the time of Ramadan.

Muslim Praying in Ramadan - Not Graphic :)
During the feast of Ramadan, the “morning meal” is traditionally eaten after sundown. The “main meal” of the day will be eaten in the middle of the night, and the “evening meal” just before sunrise. No food may be consumed after sunrise. Therefore everyone is awake all night, and with no food to look forward to during the day, they enjoy a hearty meal just before dawn. Like people everywhere, they follow a big meal by a long nap. When the Opera House fire broke out, the security guard was asleep, and by the time a passerby noticed the fire, it was already out of control.

At Ramadan, everyone is hungriest just before sunset. Anyone arriving at Cairo Airport at this particular time will find the immigration counter closed, and a long line of incoming passengers forming. The officer on duty will have decided that it would be all right to leave the immigration counter for a bit in order to eat his evening meal!

Ramadan Festival Egypt
Nonbelievers caught in these religious circumstances are likely to be irritable and less than understanding. But I know that if I told an Egyptian that in Japan we cremate the body after death, they would be shocked that anyone could do such a cruel thing. It is only natural that we should be unable to grasp completely the different traditions of other religions. However, I feel the problems of understanding are rooted in differences that encompass more than religion alone. I think those differences evolve from the way an individual evaluates or views things. It may be that Buddhism and Mohammedanism do not overlap as much as Mohammedanism and Christianity, but there appears to be greater dissimilarities between Japan and the Middle Eastern nations, than, for example between Middle Eastern nations and those of Europe or the Americas.

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