Iftar: now and then

As we are becoming more and more habituated with our urban surrounding, we are adopting newer practices as well as leaving behind older ones. Iftar, the ritualistic meal to break the fast day long fast during the month of Ramadan has been traditionally a family meal. More and more urban young people, mainly students, are eating out at iftar. New Age Youth have asked students about this changing scenario and their childhood memories of iftar.


Afrida Ahmed Hridee
University of Dhaka

afridaTHE holy month of Ramadan has always been that time for which I keep on waiting for the whole long year. It is the most perfect time for prayer, spiritual reflection, doing good deeds and spending time mostly with family. Spending time with family starts with sehri and ends with iftar. Since my childhood, I’ve always seen my whole family praying together, sitting together for meals and spending time with each other, more than any other time of the year. These have been the common practices since then. Traditionally, families used to sit together and have this traditional iftar for all these years. But as days are passing by, these practices are also changing. Going outside for iftar, having variations in meals are very common nowadays. These are mostly the youths who are arranging such iftar programs, having western items and calling it a ‘party’. There is nothing wrong in having iftar outside or having variation in meals but the thing which is wrong is skipping prayers and changing the holy vibe into a party vibe. Moreover, some people having sehri outside home are not maintaining the proper timing. They are either having sehri earlier and going to sleep without praying or having it on time but directly going to sleep after coming home. Having sehri at time, attending the regular prayers and having iftar in a decent way — these should be the real goals of Ramadan instead of partying and shopping.


Ahmed Hossain
University of Dhaka.

AhmedTHE fasting period of Ramadan sees families and group of friends coming together each evening for iftar to break their fast. When I was younger, we used to live in a joint family. The iftars back then were joyous and lively. All the members used to pitch in with food items and whatever they could bring. But with the passage of time, the family broke down and now the practice of having iftar together has gone out of practice. The food is there, but the people are not. This is a tradition which should be practiced more often. This is one of the major essences of Ramadan.


Towfikul Islam

Chittagong University of Engineering & Technology.

Tawfik IslamIMAGINE, how refreshing a glass of mommade lemonade would feel or how sweet a gooey date would taste if you had been deprived of water and food from the moment the sun rose! The word iftar always reminds me of my childhood when mom was busy in the afternoons to fill the table with her special pakora, kabab and fritters where I and my siblings eagerly waited for the signal to break the fast. Nowadays, a variety of outside food items made their way to that list. The beautiful aspect of my Ramadan is the exchanging of iftar with our neighbours, though we are becoming more habituated with frequent iftar parties outside. With the course of time our way of celebration may have changed slightly, but our traditional rituals among families are still intact.


Sofia Kamal

United International University.

SofiaMy family follows the pattern of Dhaka’s Old Town when it comes to food. We use mat to sit on the floor during iftar rather than using a table. We share our food on the same plate which is known as Seni. We sit together at least ten minutes before the iftar time. And about the food, we eat puffed rice with a special mixture of different things known as muri vorta every single day during the Ramadan. It is made by an assortment of peaju, beguni, potato and egg fritters. We also prepare a lot of side dishes too. Sometimes mom made some of her special dishes, sometimes my dad brings food from some famous hotel or restaurant. We are following this pattern from my great grandfather’s generation. Our family members are changing but I find no change in this practices. I love iftar time because I believe this practice is helping my family to create strong bond with each other.


Adrita Roy
Birshrestha Noor Mohammad Public College.

AdritaFrom my childhood, I have been brought up by my parents in a small town Manikganj. Being a Hindu, I didn’t have to fast in the holy month of Ramadan but every evening when it was time to break the fasts, I used to persuade my dad to bring me iftar. My whole family loves having iftar. There was a small food beside my house shop where they make piyaju, beguni, aloor chop, chola et cetera and they were delicious. While staying in Manikganj during every iftar, we would definitely have piyaju and puffed rice as our evening snacks. Sometimes the shop used to run out of food and if I couldn’t get any, I would cry. Still when I go to my home town, I always stop by that shop and have the delicious piyaju. Then during Ramadan, many neighbours used to make delicious iftar and they used to offer us the food  I really miss this type of iftar. I don’t get the same taste of iftar in Dhaka that I used to get in Manikganj.


Taiyeba Hossain


TaiyebaIn my childhood days I was always the most excited member to break the fast. The delicious food displayed on the table for iftar lured me to such an extent that I would even want to break the fast early. Like always, it still begins with a date. The bright yellow jalebis that pays a traditional tribute still sits at the edge of my plate. Times changed but the potato and other kinds of fritters, sweet yoghurt still find its way to my plate, the customary dishes for ages now. Although there’s a lot of food additions and platters offered outside, the food prepared for iftar by mom is beyond any taste that the taste buds would ever relish.


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