One of the things Muslims look forward to during Ramadan is Iftar. Not just because it’s the time when they break their fast and eat great food, but also because for most Muslims, it’s a time spent with friends and family, bonding and creating memories. I spoke to some of our Muslim brothers and sisters about their favourite iftar memories. And yes, a lot of memories were around food. Are you surprised?
“We laughed about who could wrap moi-moi or not”
— Rukayat, 25
My favourite iftar memory is from when I was in primary school. My brother, grandma, mum, dad and I all broke our fast together as a family. We would make food, listen to Quranic lectures, and joke about how the day’s fast seemed to be longer than the day before. I remember the making of the food, everyone trying to chip in with work, the laughter over who could wrap moi-moi or not, and my brother running around. It was the best. I don’t really remember dates. But I always remember how I feel in situations, and in those times, I always felt peace and contentment. My favourite Iftar meals back then were pap, akara, ojojo, tapioca, and those fried eggs that my mum used to make with corned beef. It was amazing.
“Having Iftar with a complete family at the dinner table is one of the best things ever”
One of the most special iftars I had was during the lockdown. It was the first iftar of the month, and also my first time eating rice with curry sauce. Two of my favourite meals from that particular iftar were bread, egg and chicken Maryland, the most delicious chicken coated in eggs and bread crumbs or biscuits. I was spending the Iftar with my family of nine, so you can imagine how noisy it was and how loud our laughter was. Having Iftar with a complete family at the dinner table is one of the best things ever. The lockdown really brought us together as a family.
“I couldn’t sleep properly that night because of how much I ate.”
— Mahmud, 25
When I was younger, it was customary to break our fast with fruits and water and then proceed to ogi and moi-moi before the main course of the night (which was after the night prayers). I used to fast because the night feasts were prizes to me after a hard day of fasting.
On this particular day, after school, my cousins, siblings, and I had a mini Olympics in the compound, which left us pretty exhausted. When it was time to break the fast, the main meal was rice and elite curry sauce. After eating the first two courses, I prayed and then proceeded to wolf down the final meal. I was given two pieces of chicken that day, and if you were raised in a typical Nigerian home, you’ll know that it’s when you start buying groceries that you can join the league of double protein eaters. I couldn’t sleep properly that night because of how much I ate.
“I remember us playing video games all night”
— Mariam, 25
I once spent the whole of Ramadan at my cousins’ house. It was such a great time. I remember us playing video games all night until it was time for Sahur. We would eat Sahur and after that, sleep for most of the day. If we woke up by 4 p.m., we would force ourselves to go back to sleep till 7 p.m. when it was time for iftar. Then we would eat and play games again, and that’s how the cycle continued.
“We had fireworks at some point in the night.”
— Debo, 25
When I was about seven or eight years old. The last day of Ramadan fell on my grandfather’s 86th birthday, and my family travelled to Ibadan to celebrate with him and celebrate iftar together. My grandfather had fourteen children, so you can imagine how many we were if you included all the grandchildren. A lot of us grandkids were around the same age group, and I remember us wearing the same outfits, running around the massive house and playing tag. We ate in the garden, under the open sky. We also had people coming to sing, and we had fireworks at some point in the night. It was so magical.
“The food spread was on another level. “
— Zainab, 27
When I was nine or ten, I went to visit my grandma. In my parents’ house, everyone just picked up their food and disappeared into their various rooms. But in my grandma’s house, the extended family ate together — my uncles, aunties, siblings and cousins, everyone. We all talked and laughed and had such a great time. The food was on another level. We had so much and there was even dessert, which wasn’t the norm. It was such a special night. My grandma died the following year; may God rest her soul.
“They gave us ₦1,000 notes each ”
— Raheema, 22
My favourite Iftar memory was from either 2015 or 2016, I don’t exactly remember the specific year. My siblings and I were to visit my uncle for Iftar and I loved the anticipation of having iftar at his house. I bonded with my cousins over cooking and the food was so great. My uncle gave us ₦1,000 notes each — a lot of money back then.