Marseille: Muslim fasting will boost food sales
High hopes Ramadan will rake in money for Halal traders
According to the research firm Solis, 350 million euros is expected to be spent this year during Ramadan in France on Halal food, in particular meats slaughtered humanely and in the name of Allah.
This is a month of refraining from eating, drinking or having sex from dawn until sunset, but once the moon comes out, food is consumed not only in high quantity but high quality as well. Families come together when the day is over and eat differently and extravagantly every night. With over 250,000 muslims living in Marseilles, some shop owners expect to triple their business. Not surprisingly, French supermarkets want to be part of this money making month, so Carrefour and Casino in particular have a selection of food catalogues aimed at the muslim community.
Yet despite the booming trade for Halal retailers, local merchants who run snack bars are anticipating a decline in sales, with muslims eating in instead of out.
By demonstrating submission to God, and practising strict self discipline, muslims also keep alive the spirit of Ramadan by reaching out to the poorer members of society. The Association for Solidarity in Marseille, located near the Gare Saint-Charles in the first district, will be providing free meals for the poor this month and will see the muslim community happily contributing food donations, by proving their selflessness to God.
Designed to fight against exclusion by keeping support centres open for the unfortunate, it will work in two sittings, firstly feeding people at 7pm and then again at 9pm, the end of the fasting day, at which Muslims can attend.
For more than 3,000 muslims who will be participating at the Olympics in London this summer, Ramadan could not have arrived at a worse time. Competitors must demonstrate intense and extreme focus on self discipline if they want to commit to both their sport and their religion. Without the consumption of water or food for 17 hours of British daytime, some muslim athletes do not want to risk their Olympic performance, so will fast the days they missed once the Games are over.