Iftar Meal ….. Whats it all about
One of the Traditions that some of you may have heard of or heard others talk about is the Iftar Meal. The evening meal that breaks the daily fast.
Most people have heard of the holy month of Ramadan but not know little of the rituals and traditions that are carried out throughout most homes in Turkey at this time. The iftar meal is one part of the fasting element.
During the month of Ramadan practising Muslims will fast, (refrain from all food and drink) from sun up to sun down……. But why?
This month is one of the most special times of the Islamic calendar, and the fasting is not simply a denial of food, the reason of the fast is to gain greater consciousness, to gain a greater desire to do good and avoid wrong doing to gain both self discipline and self restraint and one of the fundamental aspects to fasting is that whether you are rich or poor all men will be equal in the terms of asking for forgiveness from god.
During this time it is also expected the faithful should try to abstain from all negative thoughts and deeds, and that any discomfort they feel is nothing compared to those who are in situations in life where they are truly starving.
At the end of each fasting period after the sun has gone down is the breaking of the fast, here in Turkey this meal is called Iftar. This meal is often a great gathering sometimes with just close family or many times you will see chairs and tables set up in a public place where many will gather to eat
Often people who are in a position to provide will offer this meal to those less fortunate. Either way it is a time when people join together to catch up on daily events and enjoy food together.
How can we as foreigners in this country show our respect to those who are fasting through the holy month ?
Probably the most obvious is if it is possible to not eat in front of them, we should be mindful not to use bad language in front of them at this time and to also think about what we are watching on social media if it can be seen or over heard.
How can we wish our neighbours and friends who are observing the fast a happy Ramadan (or Ramazan)you can always greet them with Ramazan Mubarak which means blessed Ramadan. This greeting will be taken in the same way as someone wishing you a happy Christmas.
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