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Ramadan: Pakistan Muslims still fast in hot weather

08-04-2011 09:04 BJT

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The Islamic holy month of Ramadan began this week in Pakistan. The country's 180 million Muslims abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. As much of the daytime is spent quietly working or resting during this hot summer month, the country comes alive in the evening for eating and shopping. CCTV correspondent Farzana Fiaz has this report from Islamabad.

The advent of Ramadan brings a hush over Islamabad - an already quiet city not normally known for its hustle and bustle - at any time of the year.

Activity during the fasting hours between sunrise and sunset, slows to a snails pace but for a few people outfetching provisions in the summer heat.

But as sunset approaches and Pakistanis prepare for the traditional Iftari or breakfast, the city begins to come alive.

Here in a local market, people flock to buy traditional snacks called samosas.

Fried pastries, filled with minced lamb or vegetables, samosas are a traditional Pakistani way of breaking the fast.

A Pakistani Muslim sits beside food stuff prepared for 'Iftar' a time to break the
fast, on the first day of holy fasting month of Ramadan, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, in
Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Muslims across the world are observing the holy fasting month
of Ramadan, where they refrain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to dusk.
(AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

Likewise the kachori - a fried ball of layered pastry filled with lamb, chicken or vegetables also has a loyal following.

This market vendor says that foods like this are essential during Ramadan.

But these favorites aren't always affordable.

Pakistan is currently experiencing high inflation and prices for simple foods like this have gone up around 20% in the last year, causing additional hardship for those who are fasting.

Pakistani Muslims wait for 'Iftar' a time to break the fast, on the holy fasting
month of Ramadan, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Muslims across the
world are observing the holy fasting month of Ramadan, where they refrain from
eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to dusk. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

Other Ramadan essentials like dates, which are eaten across the Muslim world during the holy month have also gone up in price by around the same margin.

But it's the price of fruit that's increased the most - around 40% in the last year - making less festive than normal.

Because of price hikes, and as an act of charity, mosques around the country provide a free meal at the end of the fast for those who need it.

The Imam or mosque leader here in Islamabad explains how the food programme is organized.

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN - AUGUST 03: A man gives a free handout of Naan bread to families
at 'Iftar', when Muslims break their fast, on the second day of the holy month of
Ramadan on August 3, 2011 in Islamabad, Pakistan. Ramadan, the month in which the
holy Quran was revealed to the prophet Mohammad, is observed by devout Muslims who
abstain from food, drink and sex from dawn until sunset, when they break the fast
with the meal known as Iftar. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

And after eating, the congregations shows it's thanks by praying together.

Most Muslims make an extra effort during Ramadan to perform all of the five daily prayers required of them.

But it's in the evenings during Ramadan that the city is most active.

As the sun sets and the temperature cools, people fresh from their first meal of the day set about shopping in preparation for the Eid celebration that comes at the end of the month.

Pakistani Muslims distribute food stuff among the people for 'Iftar', the time to
break their fast, on the first day of holy fasting month of Ramadan, Tuesday, Aug.
2, 2011, in Lahore, Pakistan. Muslims across the world are observing the holy
fasting month of Ramadan, where they refrain from eating, drinking and smoking
from dawn to dusk. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

Stall holders like this one explain Ramadan shopping habits in Pakistan.

The holiest month in the Islamic calendar comes to end here in Pakistan on around the 1st September.

That leaves plenty more shopping days till the three-day Eid-Al Fitr celebration which will be marked by feasting and celebration.

 

Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: CNTV.CN

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