On the evening of Wednesday June 24th, 2015 Pacifica Institute – Orange County proudly held its very first event since relocating to a new facility in Irvine. The event also marked the beginning of a new Ramadan tradition, an iftar gathering of the institute’s community members alongside representatives from various Orange County charity and service organizations.
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar and is also the month in which Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad first received revelation from the angel Gabriel atop Mount Hira more than 1,400 years ago. During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims must abstain from all food and beverages during daylight hours. Due to the lunar calendar varying slightly from that of the Gregorian calendar, the month of Ramadan actually moves forward eleven days each year. This causes the holy month to occur during all different seasons for Muslims worldwide. This year, Ramadan began on the 17th of June and will end of the 17th /18th of July, which means the fast begins at around 4am and Muslims are able to break their fast at around 8pm.
During this particular evening, Pacifica Institute’s guests listened intently to a short video about Pacifica’s ongoing service efforts, heard basic information about the month of Ramadan, benefits of fasting, and the spiritual and personal significance that it holds for Muslims across the world. Guest speaker Dr. Zaman Stanizai, professor of Mythological Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA, also offered his reflections on Ramadan and spiritual fulfillment. Following a video about Ramadan and the announcement of the Azan, the Muslim call to prayer, guests were instructed to begin eating.
After the meal had commenced guests were treated to a surprise demonstration of Turkish Calligraphy by Melik Sayin from an Arts and Music store of the Old World Village in Huntington Beach. After Melik finished a couple pieces, guests were invited up to have their names and organizations calligraphed as well.
As the evening drew to a close, the institute’s community members and guests remained engaged in conversation as they shared their experiences and insights with each other.