Ramadan began last week and coincided with my girlfriend (who is Moroccan) being in Madrid. Believe it or not, it was loads of fun. Ramadan is kind of like a month long Thanksgiving, but instead of eating during the day, you eat absolutely nothing all day long and then break the fast in the evening with family and friends. Because my girlfriend loves Ramadan, just like I love all of my own “cheesie” holidays, I didn’t want her to feel too homesick. And so to make up for having forced her to watch old Christmas specials and listen to Dean Martin singing “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer”, I wanted to get the typical Moroccan goodies and celebrate our own Ramadan in Madrid.
The net and yellow pages weren’t much help, so we roamed the area around the Tetuan metro stop (coincidentally named after the Moroccan city), in search of anyone dressed in a djellaba who could direct us toward a Moroccan bakery. For me this was the most fun — watching the people’s looks of surprise when we’d suddenly stop them on the street and my girlfriend would speak to them in Derija (even though they had a different accent, they coming from the north of Morocco, the region that had been a Spanish colony). Eventually, we were led to a pastry shop and a small grocery store where we picked up what we needed.
At 20:35, the sun had officially set and it was time for our authentic fitr: dates, a pastry (that I can eat but not pronounce) with Harira soup (yes, sweet and salty together) and some traditional Moroccan mint tea. And that’s Ramadan Mubarak, or as they say in Morocco, “bessah wilna”.