written by June-Young Lee, Senior PR Specialist
Ramadan is one of the most critical months in the Islamic calendar. The people of Islam reflect on their spiritual life this month by fasting from sunrise to sunset and praying. Ramadan is regarded as a time of spiritual renewal meant to deepen the relationship between Allah and the self. Ramadan ends with Eid al-Fitr, a festival where people wear new clothes, exchange gifts, and share a meal to celebrate their renewed faith.
The International Student Diplomat program of the University of Utah Asia Campus held an Iftar Event in honor of Ramadan, the holy month of Islam believed to bring many rewards. The Iftar Event is held annually and has many aspects, including a prayer session, a buffet, and a presentation about why the people of Islam fast during Ramadan. The event began at 7:00 P.M. when the people of Islam broke their fasting after a long day of not eating or drinking anything. There were more than 120 people that RSVPed for the event, and more than 100 people attended from various places in Korea.
This event welcomed 90 people from all various backgrounds to eat and learn more about the traditions and religion of the Islamic people. It allowed for those who were Muslim and those who were not to come together and bond over this wonderful holiday. Many Islamic people from around Korea attended this event to join with other Muslims, creating a family-like experience for those involved. One sophomore student, Jihee Eva Oh, who participated in the Ramadan event for the first time, stated, “Being able to celebrate such a prominent but different culture from mine was a novel but eye-opening experience that helped me better understand and appreciate the Muslim world. I am also ecstatic to enjoy my favorite type of food, Halal cuisine, from the comfort of my university campus.”
The Iftar Event was well-planned to meet the needs of those participating in Ramadan by providing designated times for different things. The event began by allowing a period for those participating in breaking their fast between the times of 6:59 to 7:05 P.M. The people of Islam were then given separate designated spaces for men and women that the U of Utah Asia Campus accommodated for their daily prayer between the times of 7:05 to 7:20 P.M. Afterwards, people ate the buffet provided by the International Student Diplomat program while learning more about the traditions of Islam through a presentation given by Shakhina Sharipova, a first-year student studying fashion business management at FIT.
When asked what the inspiration behind this event was, the Social Engagement Coordinator of the International Student Diplomat program stated, “As the holy month of Ramadan approached, the International Student Diplomats wanted to do something special for the members of the Islam community while they broke their fasting with delicious food and great company. The event was open to everyone, regardless of background or faith. We encouraged people to learn about Ramadan’s traditions and customs and enjoy the diverse and inclusive community we are proud to be a part of,” Gingles Nii Afful.