We could spend an unforgettable night in Pârk-e Lâle(h). We were almost 25 people at this public event. Most of the guests arrived before sunset and chose a place in the park for picnicking. Everyone brought their food to share with other guests. But it was not a normal picnic. We were all there to have Iftar (Eftâr) together.
Many people in Islamic countries fast during Ramadan (Ramazân). Fasting starts before sunrise by eating a morning meal called Sahari. During the day eating and drinking are forbidden. After sunset, people break their fast by having an evening meal which is called Iftar. In all Islamic countries, inviting people to Iftar is a part of a fasting culture. Even those who do not fast, enjoy having an Iftar gathering.
It was the same in our Iftar gathering. Honestly, a few participants were fast and some even were not Muslims. But this was the most interesting part of holding this ceremony in the park: everybody could participate in this gathering, Iranians talked about their memories of Ramadan and non-Iranians learned about Islamic culture and the philosophy of fasting.
On this night, we talked about the influence of fasting on our daily life routine. Fasting makes us change our eating habits, so we usually give more attention to what we eat. In each region of a country, those who fast eat Sahari and Iftar at the same time. This collective behavior may lead to caring more for others. Moreover, those who fast experience hunger and thirst; therefore, they may show more empathy to indigents. At the first glance, fasting seems like not eating and drinking, but it can also help us nourish our souls.
These are the topics we discussed during this gathering. Some Iranians were trying to explain these concepts to Persian Learners who are living in Iran. Non-Iranians also talked about fasting in their own countries.
At this gathering, we had guests from Afghanistan, Turkey, France, and Spain. Almost everyone had brought their local foods and shared them with others. The main achievement of this unforgettable night was the companionship and friendship among people from different countries with different religious views.