Dates

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With Ramadan set to end at dusk on June 14, many of the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims (Pew Research) will be preparing for Eid al-Fitr, the important Islamic celebration that marks the end to the month of fasting.

Food and family are central to Eid. Among the eclectic variety of dishes dotted on tables from Malaysia to Morocco, and from Turkey to Tunisia, one fruit is ubiquitous: the date.

Dates, which grow bunch-like on date palms, are among the oldest cultivated fruits in human civilization. They appear in written records spanning from X Y Z , and are mentioned several times in all three central Abrahamic religion texts: the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Qur’an.

But they hold particular importance in Islam. During Ramadan, millions of Muslims break the day’s fast and start their evening meal – known as iftar – with dates. The fruit is mentioned 22 times in Qu’ran, more than any other, and believers say Prophet Muhammad extolled their health benefits (Smithsonian Magazine).

Dates have also grown

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