Video shows people gathering for mass iftar in Matareya neighborhood in Cairo’s, Egypt.

matareya egypt iftar

On the 15th of Ramadan, thousands gathered to break their fast together on the streets of Cairo’s Matareya neighborhood, which were lined with hundreds of tables.

This annual community iftar meal, dubbed Egypt’s longest iftar table, has grown exponentially since its inception in 2012, except for two years during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a CBS News report.

Though there is no official count, organizers estimated as many as 30,000 people attended this year’s massive event, which spanned over half a mile across seven alleyways and featured around 700 tables, per a report by Gulf News.

Footage showed the eastern Cairo neighborhood’s packed, festively decorated streets filled with people for the communal iftar.

It began with only a few neighbors

Originally, the event was just a small group of neighbors sharing a meal. Hamada Hassan told CBS News that since no one had enough space at home to host the whole group, they set up tables outdoors. From those humble beginnings, the event continued to grow over time.

According to Gulf News, organizers start preparing for the massive feast about two months in advance each year. Preparations involve gathering supplies to feed the entire neighborhood, as well as cleaning and decorating the streets, CBS News reported.

This year, organizer Ahmed Ekram said 10,000 meals were served, Gulf News reported, citing local media. Some attendees didn’t eat but simply came to enjoy the community spirit, per CBS News.

Local donations cover the expenses of the event, which has attracted politicians, celebrities, and diplomats over the years.

“We do not care about the cost, as all the residents of the neighborhood participate in financing the table in order to bring joy and happiness to the people of the region and other neighboring areas,” Ahmed Khalaf, an organizer of the 2023 event, told Arab News about it at the time.

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