UNESCO Has Officially Recognized Iftar As Part Of Worlds Intangible Cultural Heritage


The evening meal known as Iftar, which symbolizes the culmination of the daily fast observed by Muslims during the sacred month of Ramadan, has earned formal acknowledgment from the United Nations cultural agency, finding a place on its esteemed list of intangible cultural heritage.

This recognition comes as a result of a collaborative proposal submitted to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation by Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan, underscoring the sociocultural significance of this time-honored tradition.

According to UNESCO, Iftar, alternatively referred to as eftari or iftor, constitutes a revered ritual in the Islamic faith, observed by Muslims at sunset throughout the month of Ramadan, following the fulfillment of all religious duties. This practice holds a profound connection to the sunset call to prayer during Ramadan and is acclaimed for its role in fostering communal gatherings that serve to strengthen familial and community bonds. Moreover, it is recognized for instilling and promoting core values such as charity, solidarity, and social exchange, encapsulating the essence of shared cultural heritage.

During the ongoing meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Botswana, Iftar has received official recognition, further affirming its enduring place within diverse societies. Across various Muslim nations, the commencement of iftar is often marked by the consumption of a date accompanied by tea, showcasing the diversity in recipes for dishes and pastries associated with this significant occasion.

UNESCO underscores that the transmission of the iftar practice is typically interwoven within familial contexts, with children and youth frequently taking on the responsibility of actively participating in the preparation of components that constitute traditional meals. This dynamic cultural transmission reflects the resilience and adaptability of this age-old tradition within the evolving fabric of societies globally.

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