During Ramadan, Dates Are a Unifying Staple

During Ramadan, Dates Are a Unifying Staple

The New York Times, Tue, Jun 16, 2015

by Julia Moskin

During Ramadan, the far-flung Muslim communities of the world are unified by one food: the date, one of the earliest cultivated crops and an ancient icon of the Middle East, where the thick-trunked date palm is a symbol of hospitality, rest and peace.

In the hadith, a collection of sayings attributed to the prophet Mohammed, it is recorded that he always broke the fast with dates and water, so many Muslims are careful to follow, whether the fruit is called balah (Arabic), khajoor (Urdu), hurmah (Turkish) or buah kurma (Indonesian).

In modern communities, restaurants offer iftar specials and buffets, and all-night food markets pop up to feed the hungry throngs. Dates are always available, out of respect for tradition and because they provide a quick boost of energy for the eating to come.

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