In Islamic calendar, the month of Ramadan is considered holy and Muslims from all over the world fast during this month. They celebrate Eid-ul-fitr after the end of the Ramadan, and on the first day of next month ‘Shawwal’.
The holy month of Ramadan also has great impact on Muslim culture. In many countries, people make special arrangements to pray together and listening holy Quran being recited during these prayers. Special food is prepared to end the fast each day.
Even though Muslims fast during this month, but it also brought a wonderful diversity in the food they serve during Iftar (the meal they eat to break their fast just before evening prayer time). In Pakistan this time of day has very important cultural significance.
People return home from work early to join their families on Iftar dinner. Special Ramadan Recipes are prepared and served. These Ramadan recipes vary from one country to another.
Since Muslims are spread all over the world so their local customs and local cuisines also affect their recipes and the menu of Iftar Dinner. Some ingredients such as Dates are common almost everywhere. In many countries Muslims break their fast by eating a Date to follow the way of Prophet Muhammad.
In Indian Ramadan recipes are quite similar to Pakistani Ramadan recipes. Samosa and Pakory are common in both countries. Another common recipe is Fruit Chaat recipe, in which fruit salad is served with spices and sugar.
Ramadan recipes vary from one country to another, even in a single country like Pakistan, people of different ethnic origins prepare their Ramadan recipes differently following their usual local cuisine and using more local ingredients.
The menu of an Iftar dinner could be both casual and formal. Rich and affluent people throw special Iftar parties where people get together on the Iftar Dinner. At that time many types of Ramadan Recipes are served.
The centuries of this tradition has brought great variety and flavors to Recipes. Fruits are the most common ingredient of an Iftar dinner in most Muslim countries. But there are also recipes containing beef, meat, chicken, fried and cooked, bar be cue, desserts, and some refreshing drinks.
In Pakistan people usually drink a rose flavored drink called Roh Afza. In rural parts some families serve Lassi or Yogurt Milkshake instead of rose flavored drink.
If Ramadan arrives in summer then lemonades are served at Iftar dinners. Since Muslim calendar is a lunar calendar so there is no fix season for Ramadan. Therefore seasonal fruits and ingredients bring more variety to Ramadan recipes.
Iftar dinner is not just the time of the day when Muslims end their fast and then pray. It is also the time for families to sit together and wait for the call of evening prayers Azaan.
In some countries like India, Pakistan and Egypt, local mosques use special sirens to announce that it is time for Iftar and then recite Azaan on loudspeakers. In some countries where mosques are not located that closely people wait to hear the announcement on TV or Radio or break their fast by looking at the time of sun down.