According to the Christian Science Monitor, iftar, or the dinner that breaks Muslims' fast during the holy month of Ramadan, is fast becoming more of a social and status symbol as increasing numbers of companies host elaborate -- and expensive -- iftar dinners for their employees.
On the surface, this doesn't appear to be a big deal. But as an assistant professor of marketing at Bilkent University in Ankara points out, the holy month may be getting a little less holy.
"Across the Muslim world, there are numerous signs that Ramadan, a time of fasting, prayer, and reflection, is transforming from a religious month to a cultural and commercial holiday," she says.
"The resistance to this change is not very obvious," she adds. "People seem to be embracing it."
I've noticed malls and clothing shops advertising huge sales and discounts before the Şeker Bayramı, the 3-day holiday immediately following Ramazan during which Muslims celebrate with lots of food, sweets and family. The tradition typically has been to purchase something new for the holiday, sort of a symbol of renewal, I suppose, but now advertisers have latched upon that simple idea as an excuse for people to buy new EVERYTHING -- not just clothes or shoes, but electronics, toys, furniture, artwork, anything.
Though I am not religious, it still seems such a shame that what is supposed to be a time for family and reflection has turned into a time for mass consumerism and displays of wealth. (Hmm, this sounds like another holiday I know of....)
You can read the full article here.