Monday 23 July 2012

Algerian Ramadan seen from space

Pre-Ramadan rush; is a bit like when they announce a meteorite is set to collide with the Earth and provisions must be made, shelves are emptied, car parks heaving, beaches overpopulated, everybody is going for the last swim before showing giblets becomes haram(1) and the burkinis go back in the wardrobe. I did a count and I found that the burkini is overtaking the jebba(2) three to one. Fascinating!

The town is on Zlabia(3) overdrive; all shops turn to Zlabia parlours! The newspapers have found a hot topic for the month, Zlabiation of all business and prices going up by 100%. Ramadan business opportunism at it’s best.

Rush hour changes from 4pm to midday. Those who were getting paid for sitting in the office talking on the phone and discussing the latest recipes will now be paid for doing the same from home. It’s even legitimate for the month and you know bad habits die hard, so some will try to milk it into Shawal(4).

The offices empty of their workfoce, they are all out there buying food or stuck in traffic on their way to the newest supermarket, presumably to devour more shelves and stock up their freezers before the prices go up!

With all the people in their cars lining up the roads, who’s running the country?

The fast starts, some escape to Europe for a month, some eat in the cupboards, some judge, others point fingers and mumble prayers under their breaths whilst others rejoice and mind their own business.

It’s a weird feeling, time seems to slow down, people seem to remain cheery, though admittedly it’s still early days, must be the effect of sugar residue. Let’s give it a week.

It talks of food and evening plans at the Pool with Dj Iamtoocoolnot and evenings at khaima(5), no not for Taraweeh(6) it’s for sipping tea and smoking chicha, yes this long tradition we have.

The build-up to iftar is intense; a race against the clock, even though time is all we have with over 17 hours of fasting time, talk of food and of recipes from the Middle East and others seen on Nessma TV. For those of us who don’t have to cook, the local DVD shop has almost every pirated movie ever made and some that weren’t. meanwhile the Chorba(6) is cooking and the tension is building, building and building…a fist fight here, an accident there, the bread is sold-out and the butcher has ran out organs! Then comes the Adhan(7) and it’s like the pressure cooker has been released, the end of the war. Ahhhhhhh

Gluttony makes that you’ve most probably over-indulged and are holding your stomach in pain, so you watch TV to distract yourself from the agonising pain in your gut.
Post-iftar TV is where comedy goes to die, soul destroying recycled comedy for the insane and recently lobotomised but totally realistic, only adds to your anguish but you can't put your finger on it, trust me it's the TV.

Then comes S’hour(8), the only thing that has the power to separate a man from his bed.
Ah the love story between the Algerian and his food is everlasting; you can hear your neighbours running around chasing time again, engorging on more food before the fasting resumes and the continued wishes of saha this and saha that start and end never.

The magic of Ramadan measures only to its long days, to kilos gained, to food ingested and footnotes(so many) and countdowns.

Dz-chick...back in London where we work longer than we fast!

(1) Sinful
(2) Long house dress
(3) Ramadan special, extra painfully sweet confection
(4) The month after Ramadan in the Islamic Calendar
(5) Bedouin tent
(5) Ramadan prayers
(6) Tomato based soup
(7) Call to prayer
(8) Time to start fasting at dawn, a lot of people wake up to take a dose of their favourite toxin, coffee, cigarette, food etc…


  1. Haha good one Dz-Chick!
    Ramadan per- Iftar rush is ridiculous, people think only of food, hunger and zlabia

    Lol @ zlabiation

  2. A Ramdan day in Algiers! Like it :)

  3. Hello and thanks Anonymouses! I just changed the title of the post! I like it better now

  4. Super ton post ! ... y en a à dire sur Ramdhane .......

  5. Allahu Akbar!!! :-)

  6. It's all very similar to Xmas! The shopping frenzy and the over spending, crowding and rush

  7. Thank god I am an atheist!!

  8. Rabobi stupid!! Lol
    Rachel very true
    Zulu Boy ha! Funny how you're an atheist yet you thank God :)

  9. Get 3 Algerians and you have 9 interpretations of Ramadan.

    or, make that 15..depending on the time of the year..

    One radition that i love, is when iftaring in Algiers, no matter how many TV channels we may have, always iftar on Algerian TV ...before switching to Nessma 40 mins later..

    I still find Ramdan a much required month for spiritual/religious detox and getting closer with God (as well with one's self).

    Some may ask "why need Ramadan in order to be good?". We all need a special occasion for a little push...with the aim of "conditioning" us to be even better thereafter.

    Cheikhadz, do u remember when Ramadan fell on Valentine's Day ???


  10. What do we do when it falls on Valentines day?
    The only good souvenir about that at is the short days!

  11. I think it was it fell in 1988...

    Algerians mixed valentine's w Ramdan until we got "punished" 8 months later that same year..

  12. I was too young to have a boyfriend or to remember the aftermath!
    We need witnesses!

  13. Then comes S’hour(8), the only thing that has the power to separate a man from his bed, BEST LINE EVER, i miss ramadan in dzayer, everybody fighting and swearing at each-other nd threatening they will break their fast b4 adhan, in UK the first person u see in the morning is a bludclart with a big juicy bacon sandwich. dz chick raki ma3rouda next week to have iftar at mine, am not the best cook so dnt expect too much lol

  14. Just wanted to say you have a great site and thanks for posting!…

  15. Nice 1DZ chicky cheeky!! At least this blog bring me back from despair about algerian society that it's the same as other societies n their festive seasons.....thanx

  16. Great posting I like the "Zlabiation" so true what you have said, eventhough, it is not what Ramadan should be about.

  17. Gluttony !! what gluttony ?? Burpppp... well, I'm going to the mosque to make some stretching exercices.. see you later..

  18. Algerian this, Algerian that..why don't you mind the gap (and your business) for a change? All you writings are about THE Algerian, as if London isn't living a major event, the Olympics that is.


  19. @said: she's Algerian herself, so wouldn't that be her business, it is also her blog, so it's doubly her business.

    hahaha you mind you own business

  20. Feriel:

    It's painfully obvious that she's Algerian. Any person who did an optical touching of her posts would know what tag to put on her.
    Her main business shall be finding a good laid and get on with it.


  21. It doesn't feel like Ramdan when you're abroad; it's fasting without any 'ben'a'(taste)of the spirit of Ramdan.

    I agree with Sultan..."the only thing that has the power to separate a man from his bed", funny and subltle..Love it!

  22. Sultan what are the differences between ramadan in Algeria and Ramdan abroad?
    Family, working hours? earlier sunsets? but that's not the point of it is it?

    Thanks to all Anymouses :)

    Homo Erectus they finally introduced Pilates?

    Said I will try :) in the meantime, you should definitely try to relax and enjoy the reading. take the main point and move on ;)

    Blue I lost the meaning of this benna! for me i pass the time as i would do normally and count the days until the crescent shows up! 11 days down...

  23. Very funny post, and so true! Random question which you don't have to answer, but do you wear hijab? And I'd love to see a post on Algiers, maybe you've done one already?

  24. @Blue:

    A thousand kisses; but give me none in return, for they set my blood on fire.


  25. A post about Algiers? what do you think this is? :)
    I address different aspects of it in different posts.
    read away :)

  26. Saha Ramdanek Dz-Chick! Thanks for gathering this info in a beatifully written and well inspired piece, as expected
    God Bless All Algerians, even the ones that are able to read your blog from outta space

  27. Cheers Fares! hope it's going good for you.

  28. @Dz-Chick : Khilitina chayhine had el 3am a lala. L3am leoul kheir, yaw! khlasslek l'insbiration oula kifèche?

  29. Maliche Anonymous, the Olympic Games take priority…new post coming soon

  30. Thank you hbibti. Can't wait.. :)

  31. Let's see!! what do we have here?!!!
    Said who just got his periods and is all cranky and nice Feriel who comes to the rescue of our dear Dz-chick...usually that's my job, dear Feriel, but I was too busy dreaming that I was in's too damn hot!!! ok not bad! a bit boring though but it's still something considering that fasting in August is an Olympic sport itself where we all should get a Gold Medal.

    Wassup Dz!!!! :) Tu cook ou tu cook pas ;)

    @ Homo Erectus: C'est tout ce que tu as pu nous pondre!! Pas de theorie politico-maniaco depressive cette fois-ci!!! Tu me déçois!!I know...I know you're just chillin'; you're excused!!

  32. blue I cook a mean cafe late ;)


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