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Egypt’s long, hot summer just got hotter

This year, Ramadan falls in summer, inflaming passions over its timing and the general level of observance.

"Ramadan is a time when people supposedly consume less food for religious reasons. Some people, though, focus on consuming special types of foods,” said ElDesoki.

And most Egyptians still get their three meals a day; it’s just that they’re eaten immediately after sunset, in the middle of the night, and just before dawn.

Ramadan “is supposed to be the month of religion, but unfortunately the people have turned it into a month of figs and qamar el din,” said Habib, referring to a peach drink that is a Ramadan staple.

Charity, on the other hand, is another reason food consumption goes up so dramatically each Ramadan. It’s common for groups of affluent neighbors to throw street banquets for the local poor. Long tables, capable of seating 50 or more people, spring up each year, and the poor gather to feast on the food provided for them.

"This income bracket [the poor] is consuming things during this time that they usually can't afford,” ElDesoki said.

Some say Ramadan brings out the gluttony of Egyptian culture. Others say it represents the best of Islam.

Perhaps the group most grateful for Ramadan this year, though, is the student population. The government announced that it would postpone the start of school for several weeks to allow students to celebrate Ramadan each day at home.