Sure most people know the general basis of Islam. However, when it comes to understanding the holidays most non-muslims are generally clueless (if you’re living outside Pakistan). With Eid around the corner and Ramadan coming to an end, most Muslims are reminded yet again of the struggle of trying to explain these holidays to non-muslims. Here are the 10 stages of explaining Eid and Ramadan to a non-muslim:
Stage 1: The curious inquirer
Everyone knows that one non-Muslim who comes up to you and asks “oh so it says on my calendar that it’s Ramadan, what does that mean?” With that question comes a slew of others and the beginning of an eye-opening conversation for both parties.
Stage 2: The unknown start and end date
No one ever really knows when Ramadan will start. Despite the fact that it’s marked on calendars, it’s very well possible that the moon won’t be sighted and that the entire community will go against the calendar. The hardest part isn’t sporadically changing your dietary schedule, in fact, it is explaining that you don’t know when you will change it. Especially since each Muslim waits for their unique masjid to announce Ramadan and it is very possible that two Muslims will be starting Ramadan on different days. To witness this miracle of Ramadan just come to Chicago (if you live in the US).
Stage 3: The “I’ve done something like that before”
As you talk more about Ramadan there is always the person who relates it back to their religion by saying “oh I’ve done something like that, I just drank water and/or ate fruit instead of my normal meals.” In order to not disrespect their religion, you just shrug and act like water and fruit don’t make a difference.
(We all know they do though)
Stage 4: The “not even water” shock
As much as you’d love to relate to them, you must pop their bubble and explain that you don’t eat or drink anything (especially not alcohol, ASTAG) from sunrise to sunset and with that comes the all too expected response “not even water?”
Leave time for a moment of silence at this point. The listener may in fact need a moment to understand how one can go through a whole day without drinking water. It’s a mind-boggling discovery for most.
Stage 5: The “I could do that, I barely eat anyways”
Everyone encounters the person who says “I could probably do that, sometimes I forget to eat anyways”. Muslims around the world know that Ramadan is so much more than just not eating but alas, it is always too hard to explain that.
Stage 6: The “so when do you even eat?!”
As you explain Ramadan, listeners slowly begin to lose the gist and just remember the no-eating part which leads to a slew of questions like “so when do you eat? do you eat the whole night? do you stuff your face at 3 am?”
Remember that patience is key during Ramadan. Even in the face of questions reminding you just how much you can’t eat.
Stage 7: Looking for the Ramadan reward
After explaining all of Ramadan, the most common question is “what do you get for all of this?” Since faith and the afterlife is a topic too tough for someone who just learned about Ramadan, the best response is always Eidi #cashmoney
Step 8: Eid is not Christmas
The easiest way out of this explanation is equivocating Eid and Christmas, but initially you don’t give into that. Eid doesn’t involve a tree, a bearded man bringing you presents (unless you count the Sheikh and all the duas he brings you), or stockings. You start strong and intend to explain Eid for what it really is; a celebration of starvation (and also the end of Ramadan).
Step 9: Eid is similar to Christmas
The conversation always goes back to “Eid=presents and Christmas=presents” so what’s the difference? Little do they know about the infamous Eid coma following the month of fasting.
Step 10: Ok fine Eid is basically Christmas
Instead of justifying the differences over and over again, you finally give into the assertion that Eid is like Christmas and share some leftovers from Eid because let’s be honest, everyone wants leftover seviyan. Don’t forget to reminisce about how all holidays are essentially an excuse to go into a food coma.
(Early) Eid Mubarak to everyone!