This blog is here to pen my 30 day journey through religious fasting – minus the religion bit.
I’m cycling 500 miles in October with my best friend to raise money for Human Appeal. Since I’ve been fasting, I’ve received an overwhelming surge of support for our fundraising, which has made it so worthwhile and is my biggest driver to complete the full month.
If you want to show your support and, more importantly, help those suffering at the hands of conflict, natural disaster and crippling poverty, then please head over to our Just Giving page.
I’ve had many people think I’m completely mad for denying myself the joys of food, liquids and alcohol when I’m a) not Muslim and b) am by no means adverse to a good night out. So I’ve created this blog as an insight into my experience, for anyone who might be interested.
My version of Ramadan
I know there are differing opinions amongst Muslims regarding when to stop eating in the mornings, so I just want to clarify my personal T&Cs, as I’m not fasting with religious intention.
I don’t eat or drink any liquids from the minute the sun rises to the minute the sun sets. The timing of this changes every day, which I’ve included in the title of each day I blog. I’ve sworn off alcohol for 30 days.
As I’m a singer and regularly gig, I will allow myself to drink water before I break my fast if I feel it necessary, as dehydration hugely affects my voice.
As a side note, to accommodate for the many fasting staff members and for the increase in workload during Ramadan, our shift patterns have changed at work. This month I’m working 12-6 Monday-Saturday.
Why I’m doing Ramadan
My decision to participate in Ramadan wasn’t sudden. Ramadan has been on the periphery of my life for the past three years. My boyfriend’s mother celebrates Ramadan every year, fasting day-in-day-out. I’ve celebrated Eid with his family and enjoyed the never-ending feast that comes with it. I have fancied trying to fast for a day or two before, but conveniently never got around to it.
I joined Human Appeal in January of this year, and the majority of my colleagues are Muslim. I suggested to some of my colleagues that I’d try fasting the whole month with them – back in chilly February, when the notion of long, hot and (apparently) humid days seemed a distant unreality. But like exams sneak up on procrastinating students, so too did Ramadan sneak up on me (during a heat wave), and before I knew it was time to say goodbye to the morning coffees and stop eating and drinking altogether.
My fasting story started as fairly insignificant; just a bit of cultural intrigue, personal challenge and (honestly) a fair amount of pride in refusing to go back on my word. Yet so far, it has been one of the more significant life experiences I’ve ever had.