I’ll start by explaining Ramadan for those that are unfamiliar with it, like I was prior to this day.
“Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic Calendar, Muslims worldwide observe this as a month of fasting. This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon, according to numerous biographical accounts compiled in hadiths. The word Ramadan comes from the Arabic root ramida or ar-ramad, which means scorching heat or dryness.
While fasting from dawn until sunset Muslims refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids and sexual relations. According to Islam, the sawab (rewards) of fasting are many, but in this month they are believed to be multiplied. Fasting for Muslims during Ramadan typically includes the increased offering of salat (prayers) and recitation of the Quran.” -Wikipedia
I think it is very important to understand other religions and cultures, so I was very excited and honored to be invited to an Iftar Party. The Iftar Meal is the meal you break your fast with. My friend Ayesha, Photography by Ayesha, invited me over for a lovely meal. I fasted for the day with her to have a better understanding of what her month may be like. You wake up between 4:00-4:50 in the morning to have your breakfast, then don’t eat or drink anything until sunset. I had to drink liquids though – since I was new to fasting Ayesha suggested I wake at my normal time and then fast during the day but stay hydrated because it was a really warm week. I had tea in the morning with steal cut oatmeal and drank smart water throughout the day. I have to say I don’t have the best eating habits and often leave myself starving for hours so it wasn’t too bad until around 3:00 in the afternoon and man was I dreaming about all the tasty things I would be enjoying that night. I was serving my daughter her lunch and was practically drooling over her mac n cheese.
Fortunately, I made it through the day. Keeping busy with the kids helped to keep my mind off the hunger and then off to Ayesha’s to take a few pictures before we ate. I loved the food!! Iftar normally starts with a date, as Prophet Muhammad used to do; it was the first food he ate when he broke his fast. She had chocolate covered ones and they were so good! Then she served a juice called Rooh Afza and we sat and ate traditional Pakistani dishes. Let me tell you about this juice…there’s no alcohol in it but after fasting all day and then drinking it pretty quickly along with my chocolate covered date, I was pretty giddy. I was having a sugar rush similar to what my 5 year old must experience when she’s all hopped up on sweets at a Birthday party. Ayesha will be sharing a few of her recipes with me and I can’t wait to make some of these dishes. One of the recipes was passed down from her husband’s grandmother!! 🙂 Coming soon…
“One of the reasons we fast is to feel the pain other feel when they don’t have anything to eat. To be thankful for the abundance of food we have available throughout the year. For example, we would never know what a person who struggles to find food is feeling if we never fasted, there are still millions of people in the world that don’t have food or clean water to drink. If you experience fasting you experience how it must feel first hand. Also this way the next time one sees a homeless or less fortunate person, one tends to help them out.” – Ayesha Bokhary
During the meal Ayesha, her mother, her son, and friend left to do to the evening prayer called Magrib. I wanted to follow along to take pictures but didn’t want to be rude. I mentioned that to Ayesha after the fact and she invited me to her Mosque to photograph and experience the last Friday Prayers of Ramadan with her and her family. I am so excited!!
Below are a few shots from the evening. Thank you so much Ayesha for a beautiful experience. I had so much fun learning about Ramadan and definitely have a lot of respect for someone that can be that disciplined for an entire month. Check out Ayesha’s FB Page, her photo from the evening was selected by the International Ramadan Photography Competition. Congratulations!!
I loved these lanterns each family had decorated one for Ramadan. I’ll be making these with the girls soon and will post it to my new Blog Kwistin’s Favorites.
One of my favorite dishes, the Vegetable Samoosas. I will be going to Ayesha’s and taking pictures of her making these and will blog the photos and recipe soon.
And for dessert Mithai (a baklava type pastry), I really liked it and a banana coconut cream pie.
Below is Ayesha’s Photo that was selected by the International Ramadan Photography Competition.