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Iftar Dinner Educates, Entertains, and Inspires

Students enjoy the Iftar Dinner. (Courtesy/Zair H.)

Observed by Muslims around the world, Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and a time for fasting, gathering with community, and self-reflection. Along with alms, prayer, declaration of faith, and pilgrimage, fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. Ramadan observers refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to sunset each day, intended to help Muslims empathize with less fortunate individuals. This year, Ramadan begins on Sunday, March 10, and ends on Tuesday, April 8. 

To share their culture with the Upper School, MECCA and MENA (affinity groups for Muslim, Middle Eastern, and North African students) hosted an Iftar dinner on Friday, March 8. Initiated by Zaina A. last year, the event invites students, faculty, and families to celebrate and enjoy cultural dishes.

As guests arrived in the Dining Hall, the welcoming atmosphere made a wonderful first impression, with upbeat music, students dressed in cultural attire, and dark blue and gold decorations, the night had just begun. To start, Zaina gave an informative presentation about Ramadan’s history and its significance. Then Ms. Chahal shed light on the events in Gaza as Hasan C. led a prayer.

After the introduction, guests enjoyed an assortment of traditional Middle Eastern foods catered by Lávash Cafe. From savory saffron rice, falafel, chicken shawarma, and hummus, to sweet delicacies including dates, awame, and asabe Zainab, the food was rich in flavor and showcased a large part of the culture. As everyone feasted on second and even third servings, younger members of MECCA and MENA shared their favorite thing about Ramadan. Several students mentioned the community aspect as they enjoy gathering with family and friends to break the fast. 

With their love of giving and sharing, MECCA and MENA’s generosity carried over to guests leaving with boxes of leftover food and satisfied grins.

Thank you to members of MECCA and MENA, along with Ms. Carmichael, Ms. Chahal, Ms. Garita, Dr. Losambe, and Ms. Porter for making this night possible. 

Zaina says, “I really just wanted to show everyone the meaning of Ramadan and why we fast. I love my culture and religion, and I’m so happy I was able to showcase that. My goal is to make the Academy community feel closer to me, and for me to feel closer to them, and I’m so happy with how everything turned out.”


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