Ethiopia’s Muslims celebrate Ramadan with a grand annual Iftar in Addis Ababa

Grand Iftar Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Photo by Hilena Tafesse
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Throughout the world, Muslims are observing Ramadan through acts of worship, charity, and fasting from dawn till dusk. In Ethiopia, where significant numbers of Muslims live, preparations commenced on Wednesday for the outdoor Iftar in event in Addis Ababa, with members of Ethiopia’s Muslim community gathering on Thursday to partake in a communal breaking of bread, celebrating the spirit of Ramadan together.

The organizers of the mass iftar in Addis Ababa expected a significant turnout, reflecting the event’s increasing popularity over the last four years.

Hikma Sani, a 17-year-old participant and volunteer coordinator, stressed the significance of communal unity during Ramadan and the obligation to assist one another during the fasting month.

The precise date of the Grand Street Iftar is contingent upon the sighting of the crescent moon, typically falling on the 17th day of Ramadan. This day holds particular significance for Ethiopian Muslims, symbolizing Prophet Muhammad’s victory in the Battle of Badr in the 7th century, as explained by Abubeker Ahmed, a revered Islamic scholar and the coordinator of the Grand Street Iftar.

The Grand Ethiopian Street Iftar is held for the fourth time at Meskel Square in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in honor of the holy month of Ramadan.

Furthermore, the date coincides with Ethiopia’s historic triumph over the Italian army at Adwa in 1896, where Ethiopian Muslim soldiers courageously fought while observing the Ramadan fast.

The mass iftar provides participants with a communal experience as they share a meal featuring traditional Ethiopian cuisine, including injera bread, stews, and vegetables. Attendees come together for food, prayers, and conversation.

For many, the Grand Street Iftar represents interfaith harmony, echoing Ethiopia’s tradition of coexistence between large populations of Muslims and Christians. The Grand Mufti reiterated the importance of peace and mercy, a message that rings loud amid recent conflict in Ethiopia.

Fuad Muhdin, a journalist and father of two, has attended the annual iftar gathering four times, noting the event’s consistent peaceful ambiance, which he sees as a testament to the Muslim community’s commitment to peace.

The event attracted a diverse crowd, including notable figures, government officials, religious leaders, and individuals from various backgrounds.

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