Living fasting during the month of Ramadan, every year, is certainly something common for Muslims in Indonesia. But it is something extraordinary to do it for the first time far from the beloved homeland.
As recognized by Natasya Caesarina Prasodjo, a sweet girl from Cirebon who was forced to experience fasting, for the first time outside Indonesia, due to the demands of work.
Tasya acknowledged that the first fasting experienced abroad felt very different compared to doing it in Indonesia, especially in the country where she currently lives, Mexico, where there are very few Muslims because it is a country with a Catholic majority. That certainly makes the atmosphere of Ramadan in Mexico City very different.
The most notable difference that Tasya felt was the difficulty of listening to the Adzan (the call to prayer) for the time of Maghrib, which indicates the correct time for the breaking the fast, as well as the sound of alarms or warnings from the local mosque, which does not happen in Mexico.
Tasya admits that she really craves the traditions that are generally practiced in Indonesia when Ramadan arrives, or earlier, such as the Munggahan (meeting between relatives, friends or colleagues to eat and offer apologies), the Tarawih Roving (which consists of touring mosques, stopping to pray in each one of them), or the habit of seeing children or adolescents traveling through the village to wake up the inhabitants for the Sahur (waking up shortly before the fasting begins to eat something in company).
"Actually, I miss the atmosphere of Ramadan in Indonesia, sister, because of the custom that we have in Indonesia before the fast, here we also practice the Munggahan, yes, the traditions are also preserved, but the atmosphere is different," she said.
Tasya and her mother
In addition, the girl who now works at the Indonesian Embassy in Mexico City revealed that one of the obstacles to fasting in Mexico is the difference in fasting time that is longer than Indonesia.
"If you are in Indonesia, you will break your fast around 6 pm, but here in Mexico it is 2 hours more, at 8 pm," she explained.
That is why, to fast for the first time in Mexico, Tasya made several types of preparations, physical, mental and heart.
"Since it is the first time I fast outside of Indonesia, I must deal with different climates, longer fasting times and interactions with a largely non-Muslim community," she continued.
Although she had to spend the month of Ramadan away from her country, Tasya still feels lucky, because her beloved mother accompanies her during the fast in the country of the hat.
That is why Tasya always tries to make time to take the Sahur and break the fast with her mother.
"If you fast, you feel more comfortable with your family, if you take sahur, you will always be at home with your mother, but if you break the fast, you could break the fast with friends," Tasya said.