• Cairo

  • Tuesday, March 26, 2024 at 7:38:17 PM
    Last Update : Tuesday, March 26, 2024 at 7:38 PM

Large Iftar Banquet Brings Together Thousands in Cairo’s Matariya District

(Arab World Press) -  For the tenth year, the inhabitants of the Ezbet Hamada neighborhood, in the Cairo district of al-Matariya, are throwing a massive iftar (fast-breaking) banquet in the middle of the fasting month of Ramadan.

More than 10,000 people of all classes and age groups come together and stretch tables across the neighborhood’s streets, competing to have the best decorations, with lights, colored ribbons and wall paintings.

This year, the locals have added Palestinian flags to their event in a show of solidarity with the Palestinian people, who have come under Israel’s sustained bombing raids on the Gaza Strip since October 7.

“The idea began when we were young men, and a group of us thought of having iftar together. In local districts, everyone knows each other. We placed some tables, and then it grew larger, so we thought of seeking the help of more friends. Everyone brought food from their own house,” said Mohamed Salah, one of the event’s organizers.

“More and more people joined the huge iftar banquet over time, until now we have been stretching tables across eight streets for 12 years. In fact, it was 10 years, because we stopped the iftar for two years due to the novel coronavirus. Thank God, the iftar grows larger every year,” he added.

Locals of the area cooperate to prepare the mass iftar. Some clean the streets, some place the tables, and others deal with the preparation and distribution of the meals.

“We prepare for this banquet annually. Right after Ramadan ends, we start collecting donations and saving money. Anyone may contribute to the iftar with anything they can. Before the new month of Ramadan starts each year, we start preparing soup and meat three days ahead, while rice is cooked in the morning, along with the meat,” said Tamir Samir, a chef and organizer.

“Today, we had 10,000 meals ready by 03:30 p.m., which is record timing,” he added.

Despite the tough economic conditions currently facing Egypt, the mass iftar proceeded, as the organizers work hard on bridging any gaps that would prevent it from becoming as dazzling as ever.

Fatma Hussein, another inhabitant of Al-Matariya, said she was happy to have joined the mass iftar for the first time, adding that she will join it in the future as well.

A joyous air marked the time that followed the iftar, as young people launched fireworks, and music played in the background of the phenomenal gathering.