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goat curry cooking in lem bakrie restaurant-banda aceh copyRamadan is the most important time of the year in the Islamic calendar, a time when people fast from sunrise to sunset, not even letting a drop of water into their mouth. The dates vary each year, going backwards by about ten days because Muslims follow the lunar calendar. The first day of the fast is announced when the new moon is sighted and the last day when the moon has reached its full cycle after which, there is a period of three days when the whole Muslim world celebrates Eid el-Futr (the feast of breaking the fast). When I planned my trip to Indonesia for the beginning of June, I didn’t quite think of Ramadan but as it happened, the latter half of my stay coincided with the first week of Ramadan, which was both good and not so. Not so good because life slows down during the day, with many eateries closed but good because once the fast is broken at sunset, everything springs back into life, with restaurants putting on special Ramadan menus for those wanting or needing to break their fast (buka puasa as iftar is known out there) outside their home while street vendors wheel out their carts — some with Ramadan specialities which you don’t see the rest of the year. Read more >