By Gabrielle Chaux
The Holy month of Ramadan is the perfect occasion to gather with friends and family for Iftar. During the month, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Iftar is the traditional meal that is relished when the fast is broken during sunset.
Being invited to Iftar is considered a highly respected gesture, so if you have been invited, here is a list of the most important things you should know before attending Iftar:
How to dress up?
Did you ever wonder how to dress up for Iftar or any other religious event? The Muslim tradition requires to wear appropriate and comfortable clothes. Ramadan is a month of self-reflection and prayers, so it’s best to dress modestly keeping the attire not too revealing or too tight.
When to arrive?
During Ramadan, punctuality is primordial at the time of breaking the fast. Make sure to arrive on time, in other words, 10 to 15 minutes at least before the Adhan (Arabic prayer) because the hosts might not wait for latecomers to start eating. In addition to being a sign of respect towards the hosts, guests will have the opportunity to fully experience Iftar and observe its traditions from A to Z.
How Iftar is organized?
Muslims open fast with everyone sitting together, be it on the dining table or on a carpet as sitting together increases the bonding between family and friends. When the Adhan is recited, it is time to break the fast with a date and a glass of water after reciting a prayer. You don’t have to participate but be observant and respectful. After this you will be served with a special Ramadan juice followed by various snacks depending on the origin and habits of the host. Right after the snack, it is time for the Maghrib prayer, followed by a full meal. Dear readers, here is some advice: try to keep space until the desserts to avoid missing any of the Iftar delights.
Do not be surprised if religious people suddenly leave the table right after Iftar: they attend the Taraweeh prayer. In the meantime, non-religious invitees can stay at the table and take time to enjoy the moment and the food. After desserts, you will usually be served tea or coffee, following which it is generally time to thank you hosts and leave.
Ramadan is considered as a blessed period during which Muslims dedicate their time to self-reflection. They don’t experience fasting as a privation, so don’t feel bad about Muslims fasting. Also don’t feel obligated to fast beforehand when you are invited over for Iftar. Make use of this special time of the year to ask them questions about their beliefs, learn something new and soak in the culture and traditions of this Holy Month.