1st of May 2019: Ramadan is the holy month of fasting for Muslims around the world and will begin on Sunday the 5th of May and ends Tuesday the 4th of June, 2019. The Gili Islands are a part of Lombok and the majority of the people here are Muslim. In a world where there is a lot of misunderstanding about the Muslim religion, we would love to invite you to take a closer look at our beautiful culture and traditions.
Falling in the tenth month of Shawwal, the Islamic calendar, this was when the Angel Gibril revealed to the Prophet Mohammed Allah’s will and so was written the very first verses of the Holy Qur’an. Fasting during the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars (duties) of Islam. During Ramadan, we abstain from eating any food, drinking any liquids, smoking cigarettes from dawn to sunset.
Ramadan is the most sacred time of year for followers of Islam
We pray every night for 30 days, reciting different chapters each day until the Quran is completed by Eid Al Fitr. The mosque will emit sounds of prayer throughout the day, providing guidance and encouragement for those fasting. The call to prayer in the morning can sometimes be a little bit louder and last longer than normal as this is to encourage us to wake up for our last meal before sunrise.
At the end of Ramadan there’s a big three-day celebration called Eid al-Fitr, or the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast. It’s similar to the Muslim version of Christmas, in the sense that it’s a religious holiday where everyone comes together for big a meal with family and friends, we all exchange presents, and generally have a lovely time.
What will be different during Ramadan?
Businesses and schools may reduce their hours during the day or close entirely. For the most part, though, we run our daily business hours as we normally would, despite not being able to eat or drink the whole day.
During Ramadan, most of the warungs (local restaurants) on the Gilis will be closed during the day but will open around sunset. Supermarkets and shops are open all day although some close between 12 PM and 2 PM. During the holy month of Ramadan, there will be no parties on the islands.
A Few Simple Guidelines
Are you visiting the Gili Islands during Ramadan and wondering how you can pay your respect to our fellow island brothers and sisters? Here are a few simple guidelines:
– Don’t enter any shop or supermarket in just your bikini and shorts. You don’t have to be covered from head to toe but we would really appreciate it if you cover yourself with a shirt or a sarong.
– Be patient when things take a bit longer. Be aware that it’s not always easy for us to not drink or eat from sunrise to sunset while working in a tropical climate.
– If you can, try to avoid eating, drinking or smoking on the streets or in the village. Of course this doesn’t apply when you go to a bar or a restaurant.
If you want to wish us a happy Ramadan or happy Eid al-Fitr, you’re welcome to just say, “Happy Ramadan!” or “Happy Eid!” That’s not offensive or anything. But if you want to show us you made an effort to learn more about our religion, the standard greetings are “Ramadan/Eid kareem” (which means “have a generous Ramadan/Eid”) or “Ramadan/Eid mubarak” (which means “have a blessed Ramadan/Eid”).
If you have any questions or would you like to know more about our beautiful culture and traditions, feel free to send us a message. We would love to connect with you!