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Team Turkey’s Travel Diary

Monday, 01 Sep 2008

Location: Naxos, Greece

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Hi!

Wow! It's the first day of Spring in the southern hemisphere...so "a pinch and a punch..."!

But here it is the first day of Autumn and being the 1st eptember it is the beginning of the month of Ramadan for all Muslims in the world.

So, before entering our next adventure in Greece I will tell you briefly what this means.

During the month of Ramadan (September this year but can be at other times as it is based on the phases of the moon) practising Muslims do not allow any food or drink to pass their lips between dawn (at the first 'call to prayer') and dusk (the second last 'call to prayer').

By the way' there are 5 'calls to prayer' per day when Muzzien, highly skilled/trained prayer singers, sing out over loud speakers, reminding practising Muslims to pray. It is quite a beautiful wailing sound.

Anyway, Ramadan is practised so that Muslims can understand the plight of the poor. They are not even allowed to drink water. Children, the elderly and the sick are exempt.

When the sun sets there is great merriment and feasting! In some places men beat great drums about an hour before dawn so they wake people incase they want to eat breakfast or drink before the first 'call to prayer'! Luckily 'foreiners' are exempt too and in Turkey, food is readily available!! Apparently though, in Arabic countries, Ramadan is taken way more seriously and it is difficult to find food during daylight hours!!

One final aspect I have learnt about being Muslim is following the 5 pillars of Islam. These are (in order):

1. Believing that there is only one God
2. Praying 5 times a day
3. Practising Ramadan
4. Giving 2.5% profit from your income or business to the poor
5. Going to Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, the place where Mahammed, (who Muslims revere like Jesus, to Christians) began to preach.