The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Wednesday added Iftar, the meal marking an end to the fast during Ramzan, to its list on intangible cultural heritage, noting it fosters community and family ties and promotes charity.
Jointly submitted by Iran, Turkiye, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, UNESCO noted the socio-cultural tradition was observed by Muslims at sunset in the month of Ramzan upon completion of all religious and ceremonial rites. “Observed by people of all ages, genders and backgrounds, it marks the daily termination of the hardships of fasting from dawn to sunset,” it said, adding the evening prayer was followed by praying ceremonies, music, storytelling, games, preparing and serving traditional and local meals and marriage arrangements.
“For communities, it often takes the form of gatherings or meals, strengthening family and community ties and promoting charity, solidarity and social exchange,” it said. Ceremonies and rituals related to Iftar, it said, were also practiced by people who do not necessarily fast during Ramzan.
“The knowledge and skills are typically transmitted within families through oral instruction, observation and participation, and children and youth are often entrusted with preparing components of traditional meals,” it said, adding parents transmit knowledge about the benefits of fasting and the social values and functions of Iftar during this process.
“Iftar is often supported by governmental entities, NGOs and charities, as well as through television, radio, press and social media,” it added.
Also on Wednesday, UNESCO added to its list of intangible global heritage Italian opera singing, noting it was an art-form “transmitted only orally” between maestro and pupil, attracting students globally.