Celebrating India-Style Iftar in Boston

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By Paresh Motiwala

DOVER, MA–This is like a story that happens only in dreams and to a great extent, only in India. This is the first time I attended an Iftar at a non-Muslim residence. (Photos: Paresh Motiwala)

When Manisha Jain invited Bhavana and I to her home for a quiet dinner, I was not aware of what was in store for us. After the initial niceties and guy talk and the gals talk, the time for prayers came up. Bhavana and Manisha both joined in their own way to offer the prayers at 8:16 PM.

What is Iftar?

Fasting is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith, and during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast every day from sunrise to sunset. The predawn meal is known as Suhoor, and the fast-breaking meal eaten after sunset is called Iftar.

What are Iftar traditions?

Traditionally, the fast is broken with dates or something small before the daily evening prayer. Besides fasting, another of the pillars of Islam is the ritual prayer, performed five times a day. This is done throughout the year, and one of the daily prayers is done at sunset. So often, ‘fasters’ will break the daily fast with dates or a small bit of food, pray the evening prayer, and then eat a full Iftar meal.

For the Iftar meal, we had lovely home cooked meals by Manisha; an all North Indian vegetarian food with appetizers, multiple curries. The icing on the celebration cake was the yummy homemade Ras Malai and Blueberry pie.

We hugged each other wished each other “Ramadan Kareem”.  The evening ended with some jokes and me singing my favorite Rafi song : Chaudvin ka chand ho

This is the way we are all supposed to be, this is the way I remember India the way we left it in 1997. This small gathering of three different religions is a huge statement in Interfaith; especially in this country under current administration.

I wish we can all continue to celebrate each other’s festivals like we did when we were little children back home.

Our special “Thank You” to Manisha and Myank Jain for opening up their home and hearts for this awesome gesture and evening filled with camaraderie, love, faith and awesome food.

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