Ramadan in Lombok IndonesiaAbout Ramadan 2018
Ramadan in Lombok – The Fasting Month 2018
it’s almost time for the start of Ramadan, the fasting month, across Indonesia, so now is good time to dispel some of the myths that get aired at this time of the year.
Naughty tour guides and taxi drivers in Bali will tell visitors no to go to Lombok during Ramadan because all the restaurants are closed, there’s nothing to eat and non of the taxis are operating, etc. Whether this is genuine ignorance about the nature of Ramadhan, or a bid to keep the tourists in their own backyard is debatable, but the facts remain the same in Lombok, it’s business as usual all year round. It would be silly to suggest that, in tourist hubs such as Senggigi, Kuta/Mandalika, and Gili’s, hotels and restaurants would close for the entire month and the whole island would just grind to a halt. nonsense – we’d all be bored!
Hotels are open for business as always, restaurants serve meals all day day, bar are open with live music and alcohol, and taxis run at their usual erratic pace. Many of locals are fasting, but non Muslim locals and tourist are catered for with usual Lombok hospitality. You can even have a cold Bintang with your bacon and eggs, if that you wish!
Ramadan stars with the first sighting of new moon in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which occurs around 17 of May this Year 2018, last for one lunar month (until the next new moon).
As Islam is the majority religion of Indonesia, much of the archipelago will be abstaining from food, drink, smoking, and sex between sunrise and sunset each day for the next month.
Muslim regard Ramadan as a month for exercising self control over base desire, and for fasting, meditation and reflection. Muslims believe that, by following the fast, they cleanse both their bodies and souls and thus become closer to ALLAH (God). Similar to fasts and retreats practiced by all the world’s major religions, the act of fasting is seen as a sacred sacrifice to bring the person closer to Godliness.
Fasting Muslims will wake early in the morning , to prepare and eat their first meal for the day and to say morning prayers. after sunrise, no food, drink, or smoking is allowed for the rest of the day until sunset. During Ramadan you will often see the local people out walking just before the sunset, to take their minds off their hunger and passing the time until they can Buka Puasa ( Break Fasting ) is a happy occasion, with families gathering together to pray and share their evening meal after a day of abstinence.
Lombok has a mixed community of Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhist, and other religions, so local Muslim accept that not everyone is fasting. For employed in the service and tourism industries, it’s normal for guests to be eating, drinking and enjoying their holidays. Staff are happy to do their jobs as usual. Most Muslims seem to agree that it’s only first week or so that’s difficult after that the fasting becomes normal and their bodies adapt to new routine.
If you’re traveling in some of the outer areas and smell villages which are not geared for tourism, it may be more difficult to find Warungs open during the day. It’s worth to buy snacks and meals to take with you, or to eat in your hotel later. As an aware traveller, you can show courtesy by not eating and drink in front of fasting people, but generally people will make allowances for that fact that you are a guest and not fasting.
Most Lombok business respect the different beliefs of their community and make flexible arrangements to support their practices. Staff may be a bit tired, as they’re waking up so early in the mornings and losing energy during the day. It’s particularly difficult when the weather is hot and people would love to have a drink, but this is the part of the fast. At the end of the day, there is a sense of pleasure at being able to overcome temptations and complete the fast. Please be patient if most of the staff seems to disappear at sunset, They’ve just gone to break fasting and will be back at work soon, Smiling after a good meal and something to drink! Text By Barbara Higs
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