Garnering a spirit of togetherness at Iftar - Day 3

Garnering a spirit of togetherness at Iftar - Day 3

Prior to arriving in Dubai, I had a hard time believing it when I was told that many people end up gaining weight through the holy month.



By Bernd Debusmann Jr./senior Reporter

Published: Mon 22 Jun 2015, 12:23 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:19 PM

About 15 minutes into my first Iftar buffet, I was full.

Uncomfortably full, having just devoured a sumptuous meal, with multiple courses of delicious lamb and mutton, pasta, hummus, a plate of salad, a large bowl of lentil soup, falafel balls and rice, along with some sort of Lebanese sweet. I had been inexplicably hungry, despite not having had to fast during the day.

Prior to arriving in Dubai, I had a hard time believing it when I was told that many people end up gaining weight through the holy month. After all, how much can one possibly eat in one sitting when they end the fast? Now I know.

Obviously, fasting during the day requires discipline, but, from an outsider’s perspective, it seems that quite a few people don’t end the fast very sensibly – consuming too much, too fast. On one hand, this is understandable. It must be an amazing feeling to quench one’s thirst and eat after a day of fasting. I’d probably overeat as well.

On the other hand, looking around at my fellow Iftar-eaters, it seemed to me that quite a few people would be going home with stomach pains. I wouldn’t be surprised if I later found out that some of the more overzealous diners came down with something more serious, like gastroenteritis. Doctors are warning that this can happen.

While I don’t want to generalise about people’s Iftar habits so early on, it strikes me that ending the fast with spectacularly unhealthy overeating is a bit contrary to some of the principles of Ramadan, such as self-discipline and self-control.

Furthermore, while most people genuinely seemed to be enjoying their meals as families, a few groups seemed so preoccupied with shovelling food down their throats that they paid little attention to those around them. Isn’t Iftar meant to foster a spirit of togetherness?

After being overwhelmed by the huge quantity of food and unable to finish, I was pleased to hear from one of the staff – a jovial Lebanese chap – that quantity wasn’t a problem. He and others would save some of it to give away to less fortunate people.

bernd@khaleejtimes.com


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