Is this a fattening project?!

National Yemen

Asma al-Mahattwari

Asma Al-Mohattwari

Ramadan has arrived: the month of goodness, blessings and fasting. During Ramadan, a wide variety of customs and traditions enter peoples’ lives…and especially those related to food.

In Yemen, many people wait to enjoy the various delicious dishes that accompany Ramadan. It can be easily observed that the dinner table should be covered with all manner of foods and desserts – as though the ‘flavor’ of Ramadan would otherwise disappear.

While the hours people devote to worship and piety are noteworthy, it can’t be denied that foods and deserts steal women away both day and night. As if the fasting month was a ‘World Cup’ in which competitors demonstrated their cooking skills.

I ask myself: Is Ramadan a fattening project?

Women spend most of their time inside the kitchen preparing food. If relatives are invited, forget about it – all their time will go towards cooking.

When men complain if only one kind of Ramadan dish isn’t in sight, I wonder if they consider that such over-the-top extravagance in relation to food is forbidden.

Another question: When should women find the time for worship?

Most complain that they don’t have time to connect spiritually during Ramadan. This hardly seems logical.

Last Ramadan, one of my female relatives likened the kitchen during this month to a prison for women, as she couldn’t find enough time to read the Holy Quran or pray to Allah in a satisfactory way.

Ramadan is more about balance than what we like to fill our bellies with. If we realize this, women and men stand to benefit from the holy month.