We started our first day of fasting yesterday here in cold, beautiful Sweden. I woke up at 4 am to eat the pre-dawn meal and by 4.30 am the gates to foodland were closed and the time for fajr prayer had set in.
The days are long, without doubt, until 7.30 pm when Maghrib prayer falls in and the doors to foodland open once again.
Sweden knows its Ramadan, like never before. In the subway (metro) I saw ads from local phone companies giving Ramadan discounts to the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Germany and other "Muslim hot spots". Our local grocery store ICA, has started selling Lassi!! I nearly walked into a wall when I saw the ad outside the store.
Aftonbladet, one of Sweden's largest newspapers has a Ramadan Blog! Well...we were first! lol You can follow 26-year old Lama during Ramadan...all in Swedish though.
The same phone company, Tele2 that offers discounts on calls now also offers Quran downloads to cellphones!
Sweden is in general a tolerant place to be, as a Muslim, but this new Ramadan Acknowledgement is of course more to do with the fact that Swedish companies have realised that Muslims, who are 400 000 out of 9 million people here, are a huge money making market!
One can say whatever one wants about that, but I for one love to be able to walk in my home country and see signs of Ramadan around me.