Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ramadan 2013 – Day 14, Iftars

Ramadan is the time of year where you receive a lot of invitations to meals. So far this Ramadan I've been out to two iftars and two sohours, with a third sohour coming up this Friday. I've been deliberately trying to reduce the number of times I eat out compared to prior years -- I think the first couple of Ramadans I was out almost every iftar eating at restaurants, which is overdoing it a bit.

I haven't mentioned the two iftars yet. One of them was at a non-Muslim friend’s place. They had guests coming down from the UK so we thought it would be a cool idea to have an iftar so they could see what the custom was like. So I arrived with a variety of dates as well as things like laban and had a nice meal of mixed mezzahs and other Arabic foods. I also cooked my homemade chili, both a spicy and non-spicy version so people could blend it to the desired level of hotness (my spicy chili is mind-blowingly hot). It was perhaps a larger meal than would be standard for an iftar but it was a pleasant meal.

Earlier this week I also received an invitation to an iftar from a friend of mine who works at a nearby taekwondo school. Each Ramadan the owner of the school hosts an iftar for friends and students and when I arrived a number of my friends were already there.

In preparation a number of places had been set up on the floor for the drinks, dates, and food.

Here’s a look at where I sat. The metal dish held a chicken stew called Tharid that is cooked with a base of bread. The platter had pieces of lamb on a bed of rice.

And soon the hall filled up with people ready to break their fast.

When iftar was announced we all sat down on the floor and started eating. There were no utensils, the traditional way to eat meals, so you used your right hand to grab pieces of meat or roll balls of rice in your hand (so you could easily put them in your mouth). You only use your right hand – never the left.

After eating people washed their hands and left for prayer. It was over in less than 30 minutes, iftars are not some multi-our event. A number of us went for coffee after the prayers were over.

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