Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Ramadan in Lebanon: The unatatinable milestones

Ramadan offer - the mousaharati tambourine!

Yes, I know, as adults, celebrations - from Christmas to New Year to Ramadan to Eid to birthdays to job starts - change in flavor. They decrease in intensity and lose their glow. My mother once had to remind me it was actually my birthday. If I am saying this at the beginning of Ramadan it is because in Lebanon, milestones seem unattainable. I mean Christmas was too lackluster, and New Year too negligible, and Valentine's and mother's day came without a whimper. Easter was lost in the melee, and - I read this recently - that a fatoush dish will cost 18,500 Liras to make, whereas the same dish cost 6000 in 2020, and 4500 in 2019. Actually a full Ramadan meal would cost 555,000 which is 85% of minimum wage. Try to multiply this by a full month of meals and expect your head not to explode.

Which is an additional reason for things to be on the low-down. Some people say it is best - as all religious festivities have been too commercialized and Ramadan is no exception. Apparently, people would find the real meaning in slimmed down rituals instead of the excess which marked the decades that passed. 

I have spoken enough about how Lebanon is facing a perfect storm where all elements are feeding on each other. To say we, as a population, are tired from all this is the understatement of the century. People tell me it is the same in Europe and all over the world? Really? Do people in Europe also have no access to their bank accounts and face a devaluation of their currency so acute it is even difficult to express? Anyhow, with Ramadan upon us, Ramadan Kareem for everyone celebrating it. Here's to another year - hopefully the next in better circumstances.