Posted by: Leap of Faith | October 7, 2006

Iftar (the breaking of the fast)

Last Wednesday, our boss invited us (the whole department and people from two other divisions) to have Iftar in his house in Bahrain.  Iftar is the Mulsim tradition of “the breaking of the fast.”  As you know by now, during Ramadan, everyone is required to fast from sunrise to sundown so everyone feasts once the sun sets.

The invitation was at 9:30 pm.  My initial reaction was “bakit ang late?”  I told Pinky that she shouldn’t worry since I will uphold the Filipino tradition of “eat and run” and that I would be home not later than 12am.   Ako pa! My batteries automatically shut down by 10pm. 

We arrived at the house of my boss (with four other Pinoy officemates) at around 7:30pm.  As expected, we were first on the scene.  From the outside, the house was very impressive.  Mansion was an understatement.  I estimated his property to be easily 2500 sqm at the least.  I thought, at least una kami sa house tour.  But before we could ring the bell, we realized that we looked like some eager beavers who were so hot for free food.  We decided to go to the Seef Mall to kill time.

9:30pm sharp, we rang the bell. We were like proud Pinoys… who said Pinoys were not prompt! Iba kami!  Our boss greeted us and ushered us to the guest room, which was a simple rectangular room that could easily fit 40 people.  The most noticeable feature of the room was the very long sofa which outlined the walls of the room.  This apparently is very typical of Saudi homes since they usually have big “all-male” get-togethers and everyone should have a place to sit.

The initial amazement that we had immediately disappeared after we heard our stomachs groan.  Thirty minutes past and we were still the only people there.  I was starting to feel dizzy.  I was screaming in my mind…Where is the people?!!! Where is the food?!!! 

Another thirty minutes past and one or two of our officemates arrived.  What?!  Who was invited?  This must be the whole group. Let’s eat, we all complained.  Unfortunately, we found out that they were  still cooking the food.  My eyes turned all white as my pupils dilated and then slowly disappeared.

11:30 pm.  Finally the crowd started to get thicker.  I thought, did we get a wrong invitation?  Was there a typo error on our invites?  Apparently, we realized two new things because of this experience:  (1) the Pinoys are not the worst when it comes to being late,  guess who tops the list? and (2)when you get invited to Iftar, that means eating past 12am or later.  The Muslims eat heavily after midnight (usually around 1:30 am) in preparation for the fasting that they have to do during the day. 

It is such a festive environment… food is overflowing… salads, fish, meat, flavored rice and desserts.  We sat al fresco on a carpet under the clear Bahraini sky (as in clear because there was not a single star in sight) lighted only by the dim light of the morrocan lamps.  My big belly was tested when I had to bend forward to reach my food, which I laid on the ground.

It was a very unique experience.  Something I knew I would have enjoyed had I known that the party would start at 12am (instead of 9:30pm) and if I came with a full stomach. Nonetheless, I realized that, contrary to what a lot of people think, the Saudis really know how to have a great time.

Ramadan Karreem! (translated as Happy Ramadan!)








  1. Wow, what a feast! No wonder you’re adding all those pounds. 🙂 I wonder what happened if you guys really showed up at 7:30PM. That would have been a looooong wait.

  2. This post makes me want to burst into song…”I can show you the world, shining, shimmering, splendid, tell me princess, now when did you last let your heart decide? I can open your eyes, take you wonder by wonder, over, sideways and under on a magic carper ride…A whole new world…” May you have many more feasts to enjoy with Pinky and the kids! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: