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Glossary: Iftar

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Definition: Iftar is the evening meal that nightly breaks the fast, or sawm, of Ramadan during the annual observance of the Muslim holy month.

Iftar, taken at maghreb, or after sunset, is often a joyous celebration and an occasion for socializing or indulging in the very prohibitions that apply during the day.

Gulf News, the United Arab Emirates daily, reported in 2008 that the "squares within and outside the Holy Mosque of Mecca witness in Ramadan the biggest iftar in the world. More than 12,000 metres of tablecloth are stretched daily for iftar along the Mosque area for worshippers to end their fast. Officials in charge of the iftar in the Holy Mosque say its daily cost amounts to about one million Saudi riyals," or $267,000.

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