Ramadan Photo Gallery

For the millions of Muslims abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset every day during Islam’s holiest month of Ramadan, that first sip of water after a grueling fast is by far the most anticipated moment of the day.

In some corners of the world, Muslims are fasting for more than 20 hours a day, depending on when the sun rises and sets in their city. It is a physical and mental exercise meant to draw worshippers closer to God and increase empathy for the poor.

But after a long day of fasting, the moment of pay-off finally comes in the form of “iftar,” the evening meal that breaks the fast. For more than 1,400 years, many Muslims have been breaking fast in the same way the Prophet Muhammad did: with a handful of dates and a sip of water.

Next comes the feast.

Iftar is a social event as much as it is a gastronomical adventure. The celebratory meals give people reason to reconnect with friends and family, and gather around shared platters of food.

Many cultures also share in special culinary delights particular to the month of fasting. Across much of the Arab world, a juice made from sweet apricots is a staple of Ramadan iftars. In South Asia, yogurt-based drinks such as lassi are popular.

In Egypt, charities set up tables on street corners and under bridges for anyone to stop by and enjoy a free iftar. In the Gulf, community leaders and wealthy sheiks open their doors to their communities to come by at all hours of the night for food, tea, coffee and conversation.

Here is a collection of Associated Press photographs of iftars from around the world.

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APTOPIX Ramadan Iftar World Photo GalleryThis combination of two photos taken on Tuesday, July 8, 2014, shows a Syrian refugee family waiting to break their fast, top, and their meal, bottom, during the holy month of Ramadan, next to the Temporary Centre for Immigrants in the Spanish enclave of Melilla, Spain. The family is from Aleppo, Syria, and they arrived to Melilla about four months ago. They fled war crossing through Turkey, Egypt, Algeria and Morocco before arriving to Spain. They are currently waiting for the Spanish authorities to allow them to travel to Europe. (AP Photo/Santi Palacios) License this image

APTOPIX Ramadan Iftar World Photo GalleryThis combination of two photos taken on Wednesday, July 2, 2014, shows Chinese Muslim women posing for a photograph before breaking their fast, top, and their meal, bottom, during the holy month of Ramadan at Niujie Mosque in Beijing, China. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) License this image

APTOPIX Ramadan Iftar World Photo GalleryThis combination of two photos taken on Monday, July 7, 2014, shows a Muslim family waiting to break their fast, top, and their meal, bottom, during the holy month of Ramadan at their home in Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini) License this image

Ramadan Iftar World Photo GalleryThis combination of two photos taken on Saturday, July 5, 2014, shows a Muslim family saying prayers before breaking their fast during the holy month of Ramadan in Kano, Nigeria. (AP Photo/Sani Maikatanga) License this image

Ramadan Iftar World Photo GalleryThis combination of two photos taken on Friday, July 4, 2014, shows a Muslim family waiting to break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan in Sydney, Australia. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith) License this image

Ramadan Iftar World Photo GalleryThis combination of two photos taken on Wednesday, July 9, 2014, shows a Muslim family waiting to break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan in Istanbul, Turkey. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, one Istanbul’s landmarks is seen at background. Fasting is a physical and mental exercise meant to draw worshippers closer to God and increase empathy for the poor. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel) License this image

Ramadan Iftar World Photo GalleryThis combination of two photos taken on Saturday, July 5, 2014, shows the Aazzab family waiting to break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan in Casablanca, Morocco. Iftar, or the evening meal that breaks the fast is a social event as much as it is a gastronomical adventure. The celebratory meals give people reason to reconnect with friends and family, and gather around shared platters of food.  (AP Photo/Abdeljalil Bounhar) License this image

Ramadan Iftar World Photo GalleryThis combination of two photos taken on Thursday, July 11, 2014, shows a Malaysian Muslim family waiting to break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian) License this image

Ramadan Iftar World Photo GalleryThis combination of two photos taken on Sunday, July 6, 2014, shows an Iraqi family waiting to break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan in Baghdad, Iraq. Many cultures also share in special culinary delights particular to the month of fasting. Across much of the Arab world, a juice made from sweet apricots is a staple of Ramadan iftars. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim) License this image

Imam SiswantoThis combination of two photos taken on Tuesday, July 1, 2014, shows Imam Siswanto, left, waiting to break his fast with his family, top, and their meal, bottom, during the holy month of Ramadan in Jakarta, Indonesia. Fasting is a physical and mental exercise meant to draw worshippers closer to God and increase empathy for the poor. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim) License this image

APTOPIX Ramadan Iftar World Photo GalleryThis combination of two photos taken on Monday, July 7, 2014, shows the Hammami family waiting to break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan in the Bardo neighborhood near the Tunisian capital, Tunis. (AP Photo/Aimen Zine) License this image

Ramadan Iftar World Photo GalleryThis combination of two photos taken on Thursday, July 3, 2014, shows an Iranian Muslim family waiting to break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan in Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi) License this image

Ramadan Iftar World Photo GalleryThis combination of two photos taken on Monday, June 30, 2014, shows Indian Muslims waiting to break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan at the Jama Masjid in New Delhi, India. For the millions of Muslims abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset every day during Islam’s holiest month of Ramadan, that first sip of water after a grueling fast is by far the most anticipated moment of the day. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup) License this image


 

View images of Ramadan from around the world.

 

Excerpted from the AP story, AS RAMADAN FAST ENDS, THE FEASTS BEGIN.  To license this story or other AP news, contact us.

 

Lead Image Caption: A Pakistani boy arranges plates of food for Iftar, the meal that breaks the day’s fast, during the holy month of Ramadan at a roadside in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, July 30, 2013. Muslims throughout the world are marking the month of Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar during which devotees fast from dawn till dusk. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

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AP Images is the world’s largest collection of historical andcontemporary photos. AP Images provides instant access to AP's iconic photos and adds new content every minute of every day from every corner of the world, making it an essential source of photos and graphics for professional imagebuyers and commercial customers. Whether your needs are for editorial, commercial, or personal use, AP Images has the content and the expert sales team to fulfill your image requirements. Visit apimages.com to learn more.

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