When family and friends come together

June 10, 2019 | Anna, International Studies and Modern Languages(French Immersion), Forum des Fédérations, Maroc,

Ramadan in a majority Muslim country like Morocco is truly an incredible experience. I have learned so much about the country, the culture and the people who call Morocco home during my short stay here. I was very fortunate to be invited to a handful of Iftars, a meal taken after sunset in which Muslims break their fast. Each breaking of fast has similar dishes with some variations here and there. Many of the dishes are what I would call “figure foods” like little pastries, rolls stuffed with spiced chicken or seafood, and bread with egg, cheese, and turkey sausage. One traditional dish that was found at each sitting was Amlou which is a nut paste that is like a very thick and grainy peanut butter. I loved it and each home seemed to have its own recipe which meant that each Amlou had its own unique taste and texture.

Another traditional dish was a soup called Harira a tomato soup with chickpeas, lentils and chicken which was almost always served at Iftar. Some nights I had a hard time eating the soup because even at night, the air can feel hot and hot soup is the last thing I want when I am dying of heat. But I always had a bowl of it because it was so good! Anther dish is Msemmen a Moroccan bread/pancake which you can put things like cheese, butter, honey, egg and other toppings on. However, the most staple food of any Iftar are dates, dates are always the first thing to be eaten and is the food that everyone breaks their fast with. While I was not a fan of them before arriving, I have grown to love them. Iftar is a time when family and friends come together, and it is truly incredible when the majority of the country stops after sunset and eats together. I have never seen the streets out my window so quiet then between 7 and 8 pm.

My internship is in Rabat which is located on the Atlantic and the beach isn’t far from where I am staying so I enjoy visiting the coast often. I was fortunate to be invited to an Iftar on the beach and it was an incredible experience. The beach was pack with people who had brought their dishes and sat together with their friends and family. The whole beach watched the sun disappear into the ocean filling the sky with the most beautiful colours. Then a silence seemed to settle on the crowded water front as the beach waited for the sound of canons announcing the end of the day and after the canons, the call to prayer begins. Everyone immediately started to dig into their picnic Iftar and the music and laughter joined shortly after.

It was truly a magical experience since one immediately feels connected to all those around you waiting for the same thing and enjoying similar foods. Ramadan is a time where people slow down and take them time to appreciate what you have. Experiencing it for myself was so different from reading and hearing about it and I will never forget what it taught me.

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