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President Obama to hold iftar dinner: Five facts about the Muslim ceremony

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Egyptian men wait for the start of iftar in Cairo Sunday.

Tara Todras-Whitehill/AP

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2. What is Iftar?

Each day of Ramadan, millions of fasting Muslims eagerly await iftar, the evening fast-breaking meal. Muslims break their fast at sunset, usually with a date and a glass of water – a tradition that goes back to Muhammad – followed by an assortment of cultural dishes.

The iftar meal is usually made with family and friends, often at home, sometimes in the mosque. As the hunger pangs of fasting Muslims are meant to be a stark reminder of those without food and material comforts, Muslims are also instructed to feed needy members of the community during iftar.

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