the meal that Muslims eat after sunset during Ramadan to break the day’s fast.
Iftar “the meal that Muslims eat after sunset during Ramadan to break the day’s fast” is a borrowing of Arabic ʾifṭār “the breaking of the fast,” a verbal form of the noun ʾafṭara “to have breakfast, break a fast,” which is based on the same Arabic stem, fṭr, found in the holiday name Eid al-Fitr (from Arabic ʿīd al-fiṭr “festival of the breaking of the fast”). Semitic languages such as Arabic and Hebrew base much of their vocabulary on three-consonant stems, and the Arabic stem fṭr (spelled fā, ṭā, rā) is cognate to the Hebrew stem pṭr (spelled pe, teth, resh), which is also found in Hebrew words relating to breaking, ending, or splitting. One example of this Hebrew stem is found in the word Haftarah, which is a portion of a text that was once recited at the conclusion of a Jewish liturgical service. Iftar was first recorded in the early 1830s.
For those of us not observing Ramadan but are blessed to have friends who are, now is the time for an invitation to partake in a fabulous home-cooked feast. During the holy month which runs until the end of July, Muslims fast during the day, then break the fast at dusk with a lavish meal called Iftar. From a slow-cooked goat meat stew called Nihari to desserts flavoured with cardamom, pine kernels and apricots, Iftar is a feast for the senses. Families usually cook special Iftar recipes rarely found outside their homes. Most have been collected over generations, others are carved out of unique bonds and circumstance.
When Rida Hamida approached a mosque with the idea of breaking Ramadan fast with a taco truck, she faced a tough sell. When it comes to the evening iftar—the dinner Muslims share after a day’s fasting in Ramadan—the Muslim population in Orange County, south of Los Angeles, is accustomed to traditional Arabic and South Asian biryani meals, with rice and meat kebabs. But besides being immediately gratifying and accessible, Hamida thought, the taco would also bring Orange County’s Latino and Muslim communities together. So she made a proposal: She’d bring a taco truck to the mosque to serve halal tacos, while the mosque’s leader provided biryani.
good-humored ridicule; banter.
Raillery “good-humored ridicule” is an adaptation of French raillerie, equivalent to the Middle French verb railler “to mock, deride” and the suffix -erie, which is used to indicate qualities, properties, or actions collectively. Railler derives by way of Occitan ralhar “to babble, chatter” from Late Latin ragere “to bray, bellow, roar.” The verb ragere is an example of Word of the Day hapax legomenon, which means “a word that only appears once in a particular work or area of literature”; in this case, ragere is included just one time in a Latin text that dates to the 10th century and is absent from all other texts in the Latin language. Ragere is likely of imitative origin, and although classical Latin had a similar-sounding synonym, rugīre “to roar” (compare French, Portuguese, and Spanish rugir), there is no connection between rugīre and ragere. Raillery was first recorded in English circa 1650.
Irish women writers, actors, painters, and journalists of the mid-twentieth-century socialised in a heady atmosphere of arty conversation and political raillery, and actively campaigned on issues which affected their rights as citizens. They hosted annual banquets to network with influential people in theatre and the media, invited writers (male and female) to their “at homes” to discuss art and literature, and publicly promoted the work of their members through a literary award system…
Septentrion “the north” derives from Latin septentriōnēs, which refers to the seven stars of the asterism Big Dipper, part of the constellation Ursa Major (the “Greater Bear”). These seven stars, because of their location in the northern sky near the North Star, have long had an association with the north in various cultures; we only need to look at the state flag of Alaska to see this association alive and well today! Latin septentriōnēs is equivalent to septem “seven” and triō (stem triōn-) “plowing ox.” Another Latin word for “the north” is the noun boreās, the source of aurora borealis (literally, the “northern dawn”), which is a borrowing of Ancient Greek Boréās, the personification of the north wind. In modern Romance languages, instead of deriving from Latin septentriōnēs or boreās, the words for “north” (such as French nord and Spanish norte) are adapted from Old English north. Septentrion was first recorded in English in the late 14th century.
Past midnight I awoke. Overhead there was such a bright light I almost had to shade my eyes. Then I realized what I was looking at, the Milky Way. What joy I felt as I recognized my lost constellation, Ursa Major. I now knew in fact what prompted Paul Fort to write, “The sky is one great emerald from south to septentrion.” With joy I knew again the seven stars of Ursa Major, the Great Bear, now commonly known as the “Big Dipper”. From Latin: septem (seven) and triones (a team of three plow oxen). I now knew septentrion, to the north, as did Paul Fort.
On the very ground Alone she sat, as she had there been left A guard upon the wain, which I beheld Bound to the twyform beast. The seven nymphs Did make themselves a cloister round about her, And in their hands upheld those lights secure From blast septentrion and the gusty south.
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