Calgary’s Muslim community enjoys more normal Ramadan after two years of pandemic
After two years of health restrictions on gatherings, Calgary’s Muslim community can finally enjoy a more normal Ramadan.
Ramadan is celebrated in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and begins with the first sighting of the new crescent moon. It is about fasting during the day, and a meal shared with relatives in the evening.
“Ramadan is…teaching us how people feel when they have no food, and they eat once a day, and patience,” Umar Mughal said.
Around 7:30 p.m., the Mughal Houzi family prepares the evening meal at their home in northeast Calgary. At sunset, around 8:15 p.m., they will break the fast – and with more company than last year.
“Last year, because of health restrictions, families were separated. This year, it’s a bit like before,” says Naima Houzi, Mughal’s sister-in-law.
During the pandemic, many of the family’s meals were prepared by videoconference, she says. Last Ramadan, they went door to door dropping off food, including spring rolls, salad, soup and bread.
But with the return of gatherings, she says families are able to carefully rediscover the spirit of Ramadan.
“The last two years weren’t Ramadan at all,” Houzi said.
“We always try to keep the spirit, but… Ramadan is [a] meet. You bring your soup, I bring my salad. Someone else will bring the bread. And then we share it together.”
During Ramadan, some Muslims also gather for supper in mosques or restaurants.
And Fauzi Azouz, owner and chef of the Bistro – Pizzeria & Café, says that 80% of his evening customers are Muslims who have come to break their fast.
“It’s like a return to normal, even with the risk still there,” Azouz said. “But people…really need that social life. You know, they’ve missed it.”
In Calgary, the month of Ramadan began on April 2 and ends with the sighting of the next crescent moon in early May.