Ramadan, which lasts one month and began Friday, focuses on spirituality and inner reflection, with observers fasting from just before sunrise to sunset.
Two main meals are eaten, often with the family and with friends — “suhoor” before dawn, and “iftar” just after sundown. During the day, observers take in nothing — no food or water — although there are exceptions for people who can't maintain the fast for health or other reasons.
The month ends with Eid-ul-Fitr (eed-ull-fitter), sometimes a big feast and other times a more humble affair, where friends and family often get together to share food and celebrate.
Observant Muslims are required to eat food that is “halal,” meaning it meets Islamic dietary guidelines for what is permissible. Other than that, the food served is dictated by culture and preference.One thing just about every Ramadan meal has in common is dates. Most observers break their fast with dates because this is what the prophet Muhammad did. (According to Muslim beliefs, Ramadan is when the Quran, the Muslim scripture, was first revealed to Muhammad.)
Another benefit to dates is they're an excellent way to restore blood sugars.