Ramadan – The Month of Fasting
by Ralph Kratzer
We are slowly coming to the end of the 2013 period of fasting in the Muslim world, the so called Ramadan.
Therefore let me give you some little explanations on this topic.
The month of Ramadan has a special importance in the traditions of the Muslims. Dining tables liven up along with the onset of the fasting period. A flurry of activity begins in the home especially when the hour of breaking the fast (“Iftar”) approaches. Arrays of scrumptiously delicious foods are spread across the “Iftar” dining table as a “reward” for the fasting.
When one mentions the traditional Ramadan dinner table, we must not forget one of the indispensable foods on it, the date. If the fast is broken with an olive or a date it is considered to be meritorious.
The so called “Iftariyes” are the starters, eg “Pastrami”, garlic flavoured sausages, cheese and olives. Then the soup is taken. Bulgur, made from the groats of several different wheat species, and Pilav rice as well as cold stewed fruits are the next steps. Another “must” during the fast breaking dinner is a rich fruit dessert called “Hoshaf”, which is made from dried fruits such as grapes, plums and apricots together with fresh fruits like pears, apples, peaches and oranges.
Then it is the turn of the sweet desserts to raise the blood sugar levels which have dropped during the day. While the “Baklavas” (thinly layered pastry stuffed with nuts and steeped with syrup) and “Kadayifs” (shredded wheat with nuts, soaked in syrup) decorate the “Iftar” tables, the preferred dessert in most families is “Güllac”, which is rice wafers with nuts in syrup. “Güllac” is generally made during the Ramadan because it is a lighter sweet compared to the others.
The daily required amount of liquid to keep the body in a healthy condition, is taken in form of water, tea, herbal tea and fruits during and after the “Iftar” dinner and at the “Sahur”, the morning meal before the fast.
The month of fasting ends this year on 7th August. One day before the start of the three days of “Ramadan Bayram” or as well known as “şeker Bayram”, the traditional holidays after the period of fasting.