What is Ramadan and how is it celebrated?
Ramadan is upon us and there is no better time to reflect on food – as fuel, as charity, and as a means to bringing the world together as one global community. The ideals we strive for during Ramadan reflect Saffron Road’s consistent commitment to taking the high road by making conscious choices, giving back to our community, and generally being the best individuals we can be.
We want to take this opportunity to talk a little bit about Ramadan, what it is, and what the holiday means for us at Saffron Road. If you’re participating in Ramadan this year, or interested to learn more about what the holiday represents, read on to gain a little insight in a celebration of mercy and gratitude that 1.5 billion people participate in every year.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is a 30 day period every year where Muslims are required to abstain from food or drink (including water) as well as any negative activity like cursing or fighting from sunrise to sunset.
Every night, after the sun goes down, they eat, drink, pray, and spend time with family before preparing for the next day’s fast. According to the Muslim holy book, the Qur’an, the purpose of this month long fast is to obtain “taqwa” or “God consciousness.” Many Muslims spend the night in communal prayer at a mosque or with family, and it is believed that if a Muslim successfully fasts for a month of Ramadan, all of their sins of the past year are forgiven!
Fasting For a Higher Purpose: Thinking before you act
Fasting in order to obtain “God consciousness” can mean different things to different individuals. Here at Saffron Road, we believe that this is the feeling of calm, humility, and sobriety that comes from ridding your body of food and water and recentering yourself as an individual. By abstaining from something as simple and common as water and food, you naturally become more careful about your choices and actions, allowing you to slow down, reflect, and ultimately, be extremely humbled and grateful for the daily gift of food and drink that you are given.
Saffron Road’s Journey to Better is all about harnessing this concept of consciousness and applying it to everything we do. Being aware of what we eat, where it comes from, and how our everyday choices affect the people around us is the key to being a responsible and happy citizen. We believe that being spiritually mindful means being disciplined, responsible, and humble in our actions, remembering that we are all connected, and reminding ourselves that small everyday choices like what we eat and drink can have a big impact on our world.
Charity and Gratitude
Ramadan reminds us that food is precious, and that it is not something to be taken for granted. When you have your first drink of water after a day of fasting, you feel a relief and gratitude that can’t be rivaled. Studies like this one show that individuals who abstain from things like our favorite foods and TV shows actually lead happier lives. This is probably why, despite the sacrifice and discomfort that one might feel while fasting, it is a rewarding and enjoyable experience that most Muslims look forward to every year.
At Saffron Road, gratitude and respect for food is a halal value that serves as the foundation of our business model. Making sure that we do not waste our food or disrespect the plants and animals that provide us with sustenance is one of our main goals we work towards when deciding our procedures and strategies for food production. Our meals are delicious, but they also have a deeper purpose of making fair trade, natural food more mainstream – and this purpose is derived from the same values of gratitude and respect for nourishment that Ramadan instills in its participants.
Charity is another major aspect of Ramadan. Giving charity is obligatory during the month of Ramadan for all those who can afford it, and for most people, there is no better time to give. Fasting reminds you that there are people in the world who go without food and water on a daily basis, and that it is everyone’s job to empathize with this struggle and help to alleviate the suffering of those who are hungry. This year, Saffron Road is proud to partner with LaunchGood to raise awareness about a different cause each day for 10 days. To find out more, visit our Instagram!
A Global Community: Keeping food at the center
Watching the chaos and joy as families excitedly gather around the table to break their fast on the first night of Ramadan is all the proof you need to know that food brings people together! At Saffron Road, we believe that food can heal societal wounds, bridge gaps of inequality, empower minority communities, and create lasting bonds, all because of its amazing power to nourish, comfort, and strengthen.
When you fast during the day, you are focused on yourself: you fight against your own urges and desires to restrict yourself from eating, and you face your own weaknesses such as frustration, impatience, and exhaustion, and you work towards reaching ideals of inner peace and surrender. But once the fast breaks, you are able to turn from the self to focus on the community around you. As you gather together to make food and break your fast, you are surrounded by a feeling of warmth and community that is centered around the food you share. What better example could there be than Ramadan to symbolize Saffron Road’s ultimate mission: to unite people around the world by a love and passion for international cuisine.
Food, food, FOOD!
Ultimately, Ramadan is about food, and the holiday puts food back in its rightful place as the center of families, the source of nourishment, and a valued and appreciated gift of life. If you are looking for some fast and easy options this Ramadan, Saffron Roads assortment of appetizers, broths, and snacks are ideal for iftar dinner as well as late night munching. Check out some of our Ramadan favorites below:
Samosas and Goat Cheese Appetizers- Looking for a light and easy to digest appetizer to break your fast? Ours samosas are baked, not deep fried, and they are as healthy as they are delicious. After a long day of fasting, you need to start with something that will nourish you, while still leaving room for the many courses to come!
Chicken, Beef, and Veggie Broths- Ramadan meals almost always start with soup, because it is hydrating and easy to digest after fasting all day. Our halal broths are a big hit for iftars and suhoors, creating an easy and delicious base for Chorba, Harira, or any other Ramadan festive soup.
Chocolate or Caramel Covered Chickpeas- Our diverse collection of Chickpea snacks are perfect for midnight snacking when you need something sweet AND filling! Get a $1.00 off coupon here!
Naan- Our classic Naan bread is a great option for early morning meals as it is light but filling. Pair it with peanut butter (an amazing protein-packed suhoor option) and manuka honey for a satisfying, delicious breakfast that will keep you feeling strong all day long.
On behalf of everyone here at Saffron Road, we wish you a joyous, radiant Ramadan and all the goodness it has to offer.