Ramadan is over but here is a post I wrote right when my computer crashed again.
I’ve been trying to be more self-conscious of what I put in and on my body and for that reason, I had to make some adaptable changes in my daily routine. Here are some things I’ve stopped using or eating;
- Shampoo and conditioner I can’t believe this one actually works! I recently discovered that you can use baking soda and apple vinegar for shampoo substitute. In addition to that our hair does not need conditioner. In my recent trip to Cape Verde a couple of months ago my family bluntly told me, how disgusting my hair looked. I didn’t know what was causing my hair to look so bland and dull. I have to tell you that this replacement is the best think. I immediately seen a difference in both my kid’s hair and I.
- Cleaning products I’ve stopped buying cleaning products for the obvious reasons, for their harmful chemicals. This one, I am dearly thankful to my mother who thought me that I can use apple cider vinegar to clean my entire home. Apple cider vinegar is a staple in my pantry, I used it for cleaning, drinking, seasoning, facial and hair uses and much more. My runs to the grocery story evolves on whether or not I need to restock this magical liquid.
- Skin and hair moisturizer– I no longer buy store products to moisturize my hair or skin. I simply make a fuze of coconut, almond and a bit of castor oil and use it every day on my skin and hair.
- Sunscreen- Almond oil is a natural replacement for chemical sunblock. In addition to that staying out of the sun for a long time and covering the skin that can easily get sunburn such as shoulder, nose and backs..
- Junk foodEgypt is notorious for their junk food options. You can see people of all ages munching one chips, chocolate and fry food for breakfast. I admit that I have not stopped my kids for occasionally enjoying some ice cream, chocolate and cookies. However, I don’t bring these things to my house. Often time, the kids enjoy these treats when they are surrounded by other kids who are eating the junk food or when a family member/friend offers my kids these treats.
- Product based facial and hair masks– There is absolutely no need to go out and buy facial masks that are filled with chemicals and just dry out the skin. You can just go to your refrigerator and you will find some many options for a home-made mask. From eggs, to yogurt, honey, fruits, sugar, baking soda and much more. You know that half banana that your kid left behind, well you can smash it and use it as a face mask as it is. Or the yogurt your kid did not finish and make my favor mask; yogurt, turmeric spices, lemon or apple cider vinegar and honey(optional) and place in on my face and neck. You can leave this mask for up to an hour, it will drastically give you a glow and remove your pores. For dry scalp and dandruff, I like to use turmeric spices, olive oil or almond oil as a mask before washing my hair. Immediately after washing you will notice that your hair feels lighter, brighter and with more volume.
I used to roll my eyes upon hearing my friends telling stories of Ramadan in their home countries. Part of my attitude was due to ignorance, not knowing what Ramadan was like in a Muslim country. The other was triggered by jealously upon hearing stories about family gatherings and traditions that I was not able to create with my non Muslim family.
This is my second Ramadan in Egypt and I must say that my friends were right, celebrating this month in a Muslim country is very different than in the United States. However, there are both cons and pros being in these two countries during the holy month.
Pros of Ramadan in Egypt;
- The whole country evolves around this month. People are able to go to work a little later and/or come home early to break their fast.
- The streets are lighten with Ramadan decorations.
- After breaking the fast, the streets are filled with excitement and movement.
- Eating many traditional foods and sweets
- People are more prosperous towards each other. This month is also a great month for giving charity. Therefore, people make a great effort to feeding the poor, giving money to beggars and donate unwanted stuff.
- There is less chaos during the hours of fasting.
- Family/friends visiting each other to break the fast together.
- Three days off to celebrate the end of Ramadan
Cons of Ramadan in Egypt:
- The daily routines get thrown out of the window. People stay up in the late hours at night and wake up super late.
- The heat is beyond unbearable.
- People tend to eat a lot and unhealthy during this month defeating the purpose of eliminating excess consumption and building empathy for those who do not have food to eat on a daily basis.
- There is a stigma for eating in public for the people that exempt from fasting, for example, if you are a pregnant woman, breastfeeding mother, sick, on the menstruation cycle or even a Christian it is very hard to eat in public without judgment.
- As a woman, you are not able to assist the Friday prayer and the extra prayer at the mosque
Pros of Ramadan in United States:
- Routine, the fact that it is Ramadan does not change the daily duties and responsibilities that need to be preformed. Although, the country does not change to support the Muslims during this month, actually can have great benefits, such as being organized on what you need to do towards your Islamic practices throughout the day and how one is going to accomplish the goals one sets for himself during this month.
- Getting invited to friend’s house and enjoying a different culture and traditions while breaking the fast.
- Going to the mosque and praying the extra prayer as a woman.
- More changes to demonstrate Islam in a positive away and break the misconceptions seen in the media.
- No judgment if a Muslim is walking down the street holding a cup of coffee.
Cons of Ramadan in the United States:
- No understanding from your job if you all the sudden are less productive and tired at work.
- Breaking the fast during break time which sometimes consist of a 30 minute break, where we have to eat, drink and pray.
- Life doesn’t stop in this month so if one is not organized, one can loose many opportunities for extra good deeds, charity and prayers.
- No payed holiday for celebrating the end of Ramadan unless one uses his own vacation or personal time.
- Not hearing the call for prayer and enjoying the Quran being recited in the streets.
Disclaimer:These are my personal experiences in both of the countries during Ramadan. It isn’t by any means a whole representation each of these countries.
P.S: I would love to hear what Ramadan is like where you live. Comment down bellow, where you are currently living and what are your Ramadan traditions.