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Lesson Transcript

Munia: Culture Class number three - Ramadan. Hello, Munia here.
Yasin: Yasin here.
Munia: Welcome back to another episode of this Culture Series, fully dedicated to Moroccan culture.
Yasin: Each time, we introduce you to a new topic on the customs, traditions and the rich culture of Morocco.
Munia: We’re at the heart of Casablanca and it’s been yet another beautiful day. Besides the laid back vacationers stranded along the beaches of the city, if you head down to the [سوق] or marketplace, there is a whole different atmosphere.
Yasin: Men and women are buying so many necessities and ingredients to prepare meals ahead of one of the most important event in Moroccan and the Arab world.
Munia: An event important in its religious significance, social value and cultural impact.

Lesson focus

Yasin: It’s Ramadan.
Munia: In about two weeks after this lesson is out, Morocco and the rest of the Muslim countries will welcome the month of Ramadan. We thought we could fill you in on this special occasion just on time.
Yasin: Ramadan is a Muslim religious observance that takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
Munia: The name Ramadan is taken from the name of this month. The word itself derives from Arabic word for “intense heat”.
Yasin: Fasting has existed in many societies and in many forms. It can be a mark of mourning, a form of celebration or the satisfaction of a superstition urge.
Munia: Fasting during Ramadan is not just refraining from eating and drinking, but carries the added significance of worship, psychological comfort and morality.
Yasin: It’s also thought of as the building of one’s character and control over desires.
Munia: And what is it like to fast?
Yasin: Well, it’s pretty tough during the first and last days of the month. If you eat well and balance throughout the evening, you’ll feel less hungry the following day.
Munia: And how do you work, go to school and still fast?
Yasin: Well, all workplaces and schools adopt a special schedule during Ramadan. A work day or a school day typically ends around 4.30 p.m., which gives time for people to go home, rest and prepare food for breaking the fast at sunset.
Munia: In Arabic, there is a special word for breakfast during Ramadan and it’s [إفطار]. [إفطار] becomes a social gathering where families unite around the table to taste delicacies specific to this month.
Yasin: Different countries serve different food at [إفطار], but we will tell you about Morocco.
Munia: Typically, people break the fast with da and follow it with a warm and rich soup called [حريرة].
Yasin: Some people even jokingly say that without [حريرة] there is no Ramadan.
Munia: Then follows an inflow of very sweet dishes, [unintelligible 00:03:10] honey and other salty food.
Yasin: TV programs also change during Ramadan, and they broadcast special dramas, comedies or religious programs.
Munia: They typically start at [إفطار] and continue on throughout the night.
Yasin: Then, after that, people go out. Coffee shops open and the streets vibrates with social life.
Munia: So, if before Ramadan you meet your friends at 5 or 6 p.m. for coffee, then during Ramadan it’s around 10 p.m.
Yasin: Then it’s time for prayers, and dinner around 11 or midnight.
Munia: That’s so late. And that’s not it. Some people wake up right before sunrise to eat one last meal for that night. So if you have gotten into bad sleeping habits during the year, you should start readjusting now so you can wake up early morning.
Yasin: I don’t.
Munia: Oh, sure you don’t. But what about if you’re a tourist visiting during this month?
Yasin: Well, it can be a good cultural experience to see what it’s like and get invited to a friend’s house during [إفطار]. But restaurants and coffee shops close during the day, and some of them at night too.
Munia: So this is their holiday season basically. If you’re traveling around during that period, plan ahead.
Yasin: The end of Ramadan is celebrated with a two-day holiday called [عيد الفطر].
Munia: Literally, “the day of breaking the fast”. This is another important holiday that follows Ramadan. Family and relatives visit each other all day.
Yasin: Some people take advantage and go to the cemetery and pray over deceased relatives.
Munia: So it’s again another day of family bonding.
Yasin: So, Munia, are you looking forward to Ramadan?
Munia: Yes, I am. Although I'm not particularly a big eater, one meal and I'm done for the whole evening.
Yasin: Well, this year since Ramadan falls in summer, we follow the summertime, which means that the fasting day is one hour longer.
Munia: This is going to make it more challenging.


Yasin: That’s it for us. We hope you have a great month whether you’re doing Ramadan or not.
Munia: Hope you enjoyed today’s lesson at ArabicPod101.com, we love to hear from you, so let us know what you think. [إلى اللّقاء]
Yasin: [مع السّلامة]