A traditional Iftar dinner was held breaking the fast of Ramadan on Saturday evening in Woodland.
But the dinner, while sparsely attended, acknowledged more than a simple recognition of a sacred day on the Islamic calendar. The gathering signified a month of purification of the heart, a renewed focus on family and community.
"It's a spiritual bootcamp," said Basim Elkarra, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations based in Sacramento.
Sponsored by the Muslim community in Woodland and the Woodland Mosque, the dinner was a way for people in the community to come together and celebrate the glory of God in addition to recognizing and assisting the hungry and less fortunate.
Iftar dinners are held at sunset following a day of fasting. Ramadan itself celebrates the month God first revealed the Qu'ran to the Prophet Muhammad.
At sunset, Muslims break their fast momentarily to eat dates, grapes and other light foods before being called to prayer. After prayers, the fast is fully broken with a full meal.
Mariko Yamada, chairwoman of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors, welcomed those attending the ceremony at the Erwin Meier Building in downtown Woodland, noting the celebration was an opportunity to understand one another.
Yamada also said she spent the day fasting, but noted there was a difference between fasting and being hungry. "Not having anything to eat and not eating are two different things," she said. (MORE)