On 22 May I attended the Iftar dinner – the breaking of the fast meal during Ramadan at the Dialogue Society in Sheffield.
Iftar, refers to the evening meal when Muslims break their fast during the Islamic month of Ramadan. Iftar is one of the religious observances of Ramadan and is often done as a community, with people gathering to break their fast together. Iftar is done right after Maghrib time.
It was a great occasion with approx. 100 people attending – not counting the number of hosts speaking and preparing the meal.
We started just getting to know some of the other attendees, both guests and organisers, this was followed by a welcome speech and a short video about the Dialogue Society itself, which I was not well informed about, so it was both interesting and informative. We then had a small speech by the Lord Mayor of Sheffield. It was then explained that there would be another short video about Ramadan and then we would be served soup, but could not eat until after the call to prayer, followed by a short prayer, it was then, at 9:20pm, that the meal started. By then the scent of the food was overpowering and this made us realise how hard it must be to fast for the month of Ramadan without even a drink of water to ease a dry mouth or throat. We realised that patience was indeed necessary during this period as well as being reminded of the importance of water and how those without a regular supply suffered.
Then the meal started, I didn’t really know what I was eating for most of it – only that it both smelt and tasted delicious! The food was mainly Turkish so was not too spicy – thankfully! There was lovely fresh bread to go with the soup and home made hummus which all tasted lovely, then the main meal of rice, green beans, stuffed sun dried tomato’s plus 2 other items that were tasty but I’m still not sure what they consisted of! Dessert was a gorgeous chocolate and cream roulade covered in coconut – it was sooo good I (and several others) just had to have seconds. After the meal had finished there was more time to talk and enjoy the company of friends (no longer strangers). It is an indication of the friendliness and calm nature of the event that I – someone who has difficulties dealing with strangers and large groups of people – felt at ease throughout and was able to talk to different people in such a situation.
Altogether a lovely evening with a lovely meal thrown in, it was great to celebrate the breaking of the fast in this way and I felt privileged to have been invited.