Sunday, August 31, 2008


Today marks a big change in our lives while living here in Indonesia. Today is the start of 'Ramadan' for all Muslims! This whole thing is new to us and we've been trying to read and talk to our neighbors to find out 'why' and 'how' this month is to take place and how it'll affect us.

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims must refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, marital relations or getting angry during the daylight hours. In addition, those fasting are supposed to refrain from bad habits - lying, getting angry, using bad language as well as to be more diligent in prayer and give to charities. It is believe that fasting heightens spirituality and develops self-control.

So Muslim's will be getting up at 4:00am and having breakfast before needing to go to the mosque at 4:30am, then again at 12:00-3:00-6:00 & 7:00. During the day hours they are not to eat or drink anything! Their not suppose to even swallow their own saliva. Then once it gets dark again (about 6:00pm) they are allowed to break the fast and eat & drink.

How will this affect us you ask?

1) Well we’ve been told that people will be banging pots and pans outside our house with calls to “Eat Breakfast” of “Sahuuuuuhuuuuur!” at 4:00am!

2) When we eat during the day (7:00-12:00-5:00) we’ll have to close our kitchen curtains as not to be rude to those choosing to fast. We’ll also need to keep an eye on the girls to make sure there not walking around the front yard with a bowl of popcorn or a chicken drum stick in hand!

3) This is a time when more beggars are out than normal, as well, as part of the pillars of Islam is giving alms to the poor, and the blessings received from Allah double for alms given during Ramadan. More thefts during this time also as we’ll need to make sure to LOCK OUR GATES at night and definitely our doors! Can’t leave things out, even sandals can be stolen! People are trying to accumulate money for the feasts at the end of Ramadan as well as travel home, “Mudik” or “pulang kampung.”

4) As Lebaran or Idul Fitri approaches (October 1st and 2nd ), prices of food and transportation will go up dramatically.

5) I read that over half of Jakarta’s work force (and Surabaya too) is from out of the region, many from Central Java, and a large percentage of them go home to family over the Lebaran Holiday (remember) again that this is the end of the month of fasting October 1st and 2nd ) . This “going home” is referred to as “Mudik,” which literally means “upstream, inland (away from the sea.” The people who mudik are called “pemudik.” Because of this flux of people going home, Jakarta becomes “sepi” or quiet, and cities like Semarang and Solo almost double in size for this week! Even Salatiga grows in population and becomes much more congested. In the States, our biggest time to visit family is Thanksgiving or Christmas so in a way, Idul Fitri is like Thanksgiving and Christmas wrapped into one for the Muslims.

OK, we hope this information helps your understand and your ability to pray for us more effectively during this time. We'll continue to update our blog as we learn and experience more from this 'new' culture we find our selves in...

Because He said 'Go'

~The Kane's

If you’d like to read the link below or article below that, it’s good reading.


Ben said...

I'll be praying for you especially during this time of Ramadan. Thanks for the specifics about your situation. God bless you all.

Glidewell Family said...

Sound like an ornery crowd!!!!

Joan said...

So does your new Tiger beat that Baja Buggy you had a couple years ago? ;)

Ben & Ruth said...

Of course it does Joan. My Tiger actually starts & goes up hill...

You can tell Ernest too that I have a valid Drivers license, registration & insurance for driving it!