Muslims in Iceland are required to fast for 22 hours a day this week to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan.
Luckily for Salahadin Khairo and his family, Autumn days in Orange are not nearly as long as Summer days in the Nordic nation, which waits until 11pm to see the sunset.
Beginning in May, Mr Khairo is one of nearly two billion Muslims around the world to exercise restraint by not eating from sun up to sun down for a month.
Observed in accordance to the local visibility of the new crescent moon, the first day of Ramadan for Australian Muslims like the Khairo family was May 16.
Mr Khairo said that while he might slow down a little bit with an empty belly, his religious beliefs don’t prevent him from participating in soccer or several gym sessions a week.
“Life goes on – you can be a little quieter during the day but in terms of energy there is little difference pre or post Ramadan.”
The father of four adopts a different sleep pattern during the month, calling it a day early in the evening and waking up at around 4am to have breakfast – pray, meditate or read the Koran – before starting work at 7am.
The economist with the Department of Primary Industries said flexible work hours allow him to knock off in time for an afternoon nap before his children are home from school.
Mr Khairo’s 12 year-old son Yusuf Khairo attends Orange High School and represents the city in district soccer on the weekends.
While both his father and mother, Yasmin Yusuf, encourage him to take it easy during Ramadan and put no pressure on their children to fast, the young athlete chooses to replicate his parents eating habits for the month.
His younger siblings, both 10-year-old Naeem Khairo and 8-year-old Armina Khairo at Bletchington Public School, as well as 4-year-old Mohammed Khairo at Trinity Preschool, are too young to go without food.
“My daughter tried this weekend but she was hungry by lunchtime,” said Mr Khairo.
During the month the family attend evening prayer at the mosque in Orange more regularly, as do the other 40 or more Muslim families in the city.
“Because you are fasting you become more religiously conscious for the month,” Mr Khairo said.
According to Islamic beliefs, Ramadan commemorates the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad.