The famous Muslim month of fasting began in Ireland last Thursday. Normally for Muslims the fasting is all day in Arab countries until 7.30 to 8pm but is longer in Ireland due to longer evenings, they fast for an hour or two extra or more.
In Waterford many Muslims attend local mosques, including one at Viewmount, Dunmore Road and another out on the old Kilmeaden Road at the West Gate Business Park, where both men and women go although they pray separately and eat separately.
Ireland now has 50,000 Muslims with hundreds in Waterford, where many work in the hospital and health care sector, coming from Asia, Africa and Middle East, along with Saudi Arabian students at WIT.
There are also many Muslims from Nigeria now living in Waterford.
Worshippers pray together and also bring their own food to the mosque after the fast is broken. They usually pray for an hour prior to eating in the evening.
During the day, Muslim adults are not permitted to eat or drink water. Children may also have a day fasting.
It is then eating at night with a larger meal around midnight and a very early breakfast in the early hours prior to fasting again.
We recall doing it once away on vacation many years back in a Muslim country. Muslims will say that after a few days of fasting the body adjusts to the new hours, but it can tiring if one is working all day and cannot eat and then up at night for food.
So if you know a Muslim in Waterford, offer them some support in their fast, which is a great deal more testing that the Roman Catholic Lent.