A non-religious Westerner experiences Ramadan in Jakarta

A non-religious Westerner experiences Ramadan in Jakarta

Letters from Jakarta

Street vendors sell food to be consumed after sun down. Street vendors sell treats throughout the day to be consumed after sun down.

The coolest part about my stay in Jakarta thus far has been experiencing the latter half of Ramadan in the largest Muslim population in the world. Non-Muslims are not expected to fast during this holy month, but there’s really no way to be detached from the festivities; Ramadan is such a huge religious event here that the whole city dynamic changes during this time. A few observations:

At the office

Most people at my workplace are fasting Muslims. This means that, during the entire month of Ramadan (June 18 to July 17 this year), the work pace slows as people adjust to abstaining from food and drink from dawn until dusk.

To be respectful of those fasting, non-fasters typically eat lunch and snacks in a corner or outside of the office, and try to drink water more…

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