Ramadan began on Saturday. The minarets are all lit up with flags fluttering from them and the sense of community around the mosques is palpable. It is a time for practicing Muslims to show their devotion by observing a fast (no eating or drinking) during daylight hours. This being the summer, it is quite a long day; starting about 5.45am and the evening call to prayer is currently around 8pm. The tradition in Bosnia is for small intimate mosques (not for them the huge mosques of the Middle East) and they play an important role in many communities as the obvious meeting point where everyone gets together for a good old chitchat of an evening. I often see a small bunch of people sitting under the pergola outside the mosque opposite, passing the time of day.
Although Tuzla is well mixed, with several churches and orthodox churches, it is predominantly a Muslim city. You'd not really know it to visit. Alcohol is widely available and women can be (very) scantily dressed. Although it is not unusual to see a woman in a head scarf, it is by no means the norm either. I've always had the impression that Tuzla is Muslim in the way that England is Christian. Although the culture is formed by the religion, the number of actively practicing Muslims seem relatively small. Many people I know go to the mosque only at Bajram (Bosnian equivalent of Eid, at the end of Ramadan) much like many people go to church only at Christmas. Everyone seems to join in with the bits of the culture that they like, including the Orthodox Serbs and Catholic Croats who usually join the party at Bajram.
For us, non Muslims, Ramadan brings with it a real treat. Lepina bread, best described as quite like naan bread but a bit more bready, is widely available, freshly baked, at all the local shops from 3pm (which strikes me as so unfair to those fasting, when they must be at their most hungry everywhere they go they must be able to smell freshly baked bread, which would finish me off in seconds). Lepina is absolutely delicious; best eaten when they are warm, with cream cheese. The boys can't get enough of it. Neither can I. And having eaten lepina all over the country, I can confirm that the best lepina of all comes from Tuzla.