So wow, this is quite a bit off, but I've been rather busy. All of these events happened around a month ago. So keep that in mind.
So a bit of background, Ramadan is the holiest month of the year for Muslims. And since they follow a lunar calendar, it gets earlier and earlier each year until it resets. This year it was smack dab in the middle of summer. This can be really rough on people since you're expected to fast during the daylight hours. For those in countries like Sweden, Norway, Canada and Iceland, that could mean that the sun never sets. Or it could mean that you technically are supposed to fast for 22 hours. Obviously this is not possible and so they usually go by the Saudi schedule of fasting. So what do they mean by fasting? This means no drinking, no eating and worst of all (or it seems like it for most Jordanians) no smoking. :P I'm not going to lie, I loved the smoke-free-ness of Amman without the perpetual black haze.
Oh well. Anywho, so the purpose of this fasting is to become closer to God and to be able to set aside worldly pleasures and focus on a greater cause. This month is also marked with aiding the poor and generally trying to be a better person overall. It's similar to the LDS practice of fasting once a month. Only this is a lot more intense.
Iftar is the breaking of that fast. It's a time for getting together with friends and family and generally a time to get to know one another. It's a very joyous and festive time. The tradition is to break your fast with a (huge) glass of water and some dates. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that dates were the ideal food and so these are used to break the fast and usher in the time of festivity. Some people then go and pray at this point, but others don't go until they have a larger meal. I've honestly met people who do both so there doesn't seem to be a consensus on it other than you definitely have to break the fast (at least a little bit) before praying.
Back in the beginning of July, quite a few of us Georgetown people were around and decided to do a get-together. Afaf lives here in Amman and so she invited us over for iftar. It was delicious and so much fun! She's such a wonderful person!
The gorgeous view from her apartment
What we thought was dinner...but was just the starters
Afaf, (her amazing Kibbeh), Andy and Rachel
The main dish-Kabsa! It was so delicious....
Everyone hanging out
Rachel, Tim and Lena
We all decided that we had such a good time that we needed to do iftar another time. A week or two later, we all decided to gather at the very delicious restaurant near the university called Bab el-Yemen. It is SO good.
And the view was gorgeous walking there
The wonderful restaurant
View of the table pre-annihilation
Looking over our choices
Lots of people go out to restaurants for iftar
Round one of our food
The end result, I think we killed it.
And if we hadn't stuffed ourselves enough, we decided to go out to get some sweets. So we headed to Habibeh which is a very famous sweet shop. We didn't want to go to the one downtown, so we went to one off of Shaheed and that was nice.
A special Ramadan treat
Warabat: the tastiest thing this side of the River Jordan
From L-R: Ellie, Sacha, Rachel, Melissa? (Ack, I didn't catch her name!), Afaf, Lena, Craig, Myself and Andy!
Again, we had a great time getting together and just having fun. It'll be nice to be back at Georgetown and have an expanded friend base. There's something about sharing in a study abroad experience that brings you closer together. Such a fun group.