I've covered a slew of religious events in the past week. I shot images for a profile of Hillel's new director and therefore sat through Jewish Shabbat services, attended an Evangelical Presbyterian service for an ongoing project on Wednesday and was also sent out to photograph the end of Ramadan. I've been to enough religious services the last week to satisfy my mom's insistence that I go to mass for at least a month.
Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, ended this week with Eid al-Fitr celebrations. Although Eid al-Fitr was actually on Tuesday, I shot an event MU's Muslim Student Organization put on to both celebrate the end of Ramadan and welcome new and returning students.
I was really excited to shoot an Islamic event after doing my story about the hijab earlier this year. I love learning new things about religions and knew how important Ramadan was to Muslims after talking to my former subjects about it. So it was fun to be able to experience the relief at the end of it.
During Ramadan, Muslims must fast from sun-up to sun-down. They must abstain from both food and drinks, in addition to smoking and sexual activity. Although Ramadan may be tough at home in the Middle East, it's even more difficult for Muslim immigrants because the days were around three hours longer during Ramadan in the U.S. this year.
I can't even fathom not eating anything all day (I mean, have you seen my baking blog?), but not drinking anything would seem absolutely horrible, especially with the weather we've been having — it's hot!
Apparently Ramadan poses an added problem in the coming future, as the next summer Olympics will be during Ramadan. Muslim athletes will have to decided whether to take part in the holiday and risk their performance, or drink water to stay safe.
But I guess my mom can be happy, because whether I want to be Jewish, Muslim or Christian, I've experienced some part of their prayers or service in the last week. It was a good cultural experience, and I guess I've got some good points with up above, too!