Yeay, It’s The Fasting Season.
For most Muslims, devout or otherwise, it’s the time of the year where Muslims have to fast from sunrise to sunset for 30 days. I’m not going to delve on why and how, but it’s the unique way Jakarta and Jakartans react to the fasting season:
- almost every mass media is filled with Muslim-centric shows and series. The TV stations compete with each other to get some prominent ustad say something 10 minutes before sunset (when you stop fasting)
- restaurants offer ‘buka puasa’ packages, and an entire army of street vendors appear in various places of Jakarta to offer the tajil, which is food for eating when stopping fasting for the day.
- traffic jams are unbelievable in the hours before sunset – but the roads are empty right after, since everyone has stopped for a drink or meal
- food courts and restaurants are filled with people who are not eating 10 minutes before ‘buka puasa’
- A lot of offices open later (since their employees had to get up for breakfast before sunrise, so must obviously sleep more) and close earlier (so that their employees can go home earlier to have ‘buka puasa’ at home – not factoring in the traffic jams)
- Some gangs claiming to be the guardians of Islam – or whatever – organize sweeps of areas known to have bars, nightclubs, pool halls and any other night entertainment venue, to ‘urge’ them to stop activities during the fasting month. Sometimes they will even vandalize, just because the venue is open in daytime, and even though it’s just a mom and pop grocery store.