Dates and Middle Eastern Celebrations
April 13, 2018 | Najwa Taoussi
Coming from the Euphrates basin, the date palm tree does not fear the arid heat of the day or the freezing cold of the night. Cultivated for 6,000 years, the date palm is one of the first fruit trees domesticated by humans. It is highly appreciated and deeply rooted in the Middle Eastern culture. Let us discover the different way that this sweet fruit is consumed in the region.
Same date, different flavors
Dates are known to be very sweet. They are often associated with cakes, juices, or any other sweet dish. However, in the Middle East, they are also cooked with meat, added to salads and salty meals in general.
Dates are a symbol of hospitality
In the Middle East, dates are offered to guests. It means that their visit is appreciated and that they are welcome to our home. As a symbol of hospitality, guests are often greeted with traditional Arabic coffee and sweet dates together.
Dates in Engagements and Marriages
It is common in the Middle East to present dates with plain milk during engagement and marriage parties. These items are obviously consumed separately, but together, they have a very specific meaning in the region.
Dates during Ramadan
Muslims in the Middle East and all over the world fast during Ramadan. They break their fasting with dates, as the Prophet Muhammad once did. After a day without eating, these sweet fruits are indeed welcome: just 100 grams of dates can provide 314 kcal. They are also rich in calcium, phosphorus, vitamins, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
During the sacred month of Ramadan, Muslims consume dates in different and delicious ways. Pastry shops of the Middle Eastern region offer all kinds of stuffed dates, especially during Ramadan. Almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, and cheese—the stuffing options are endless!