Mango Sweetens Pakistan Ramadan
KARACHI – Adding a sweat touch to the holy fasting month, Ramadan is scheduled to start in Pakistan next month in the peak season of the famous mangoes.
“It’s after 26 years, when Ramadan is going to fall during the peak season of Mangoes (in Pakistan),” Asif Arain, a mango grower and dealer from the southern city of MirpurKhas, the largest mango producer town in Pakistan, told OnIslam.net.
“Therefore, the higher demand for the commodity is understandable.”
Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar, is scheduled to start next month in the peak season of Pakistan’s famous mangoes.
This has prompted a high demand for the mangoes ahead of the dawn-to-dusk fasting month.
Asif has already received 50 percent more-than-normal orders from Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Muzzaferabad, and other big cities for Ramadan.
“We have hired extra labor for packing and shipping mangoes as we expect more orders during next couple of weeks,” said Asif who grows “Sindhri”, a famous variety of mangoes in his farms.
Sindhri, which is named after a small town of Mirpurkhas district, is also known as “big mango” because of its size.
This kind of mango is usually used for mango shake due to its large size, and a slight sour taste.
Chaunsa is another popular kind of mangoes that Pakistan not only produces but exports to many countries.
Recognized worldwide because of its sweet taste, Chaunsa is Pakistan’s largest export amongst all other kinds of the commodity.
Last year, the United States lifted the ban on mango imports from Pakistan, giving an opportunity to mango fans to taste the delicious commodity for which Americans would travel to Toronto, Canada in hopes of buying the Chaunsa mangoes from there. Some would go too far and try to smuggle them back over the border.
Other countries too have recently lifted their bans on Chaunsa mangoes as well, including Japan after 16 years.
Chaunsa mango has two sub-branches – white Chaunsa and black Chaunsa.
White Chaunsa is more famous and higher in demand than black Chaunsa due to its sweetness.
Multan, the northeastern city, which is known for its warm weather, is the hub of Chaunsa mango.
Anwar Ratole l, which has been named after the person who introduced this variety of mango, is the sweetest but second most exported mango in Pakistan.
Other prominent varieties of mangoes that Pakistan produces are Langra (lame) mango, Dusheri, Tota pari, Ratnagiri, Alphonso, Samar Bahisht, and Fajri,
Pakistanis say mangoes will add a sweat touch to the fasting month, which falls in summer.
“Mango crust is tummy-filling and energetic, and it provides you extra energy to cope with the hot weather during Ramadan,” Haji Bashir Ahmed Mehar, another mango grower from Khaiprur, another mango producing district of southern Sindh province, told OnIslam.net.
“But as it is warm in nature, therefore Lassi injects a cooling effect in your body after eating that (mangoes).
“This year, the met office has forecast beyond the ordinary hot weather in July (Ramadan is also falling in July), therefore, more energy and minerals will be required to compete the excessive heat,” Mehar said.
“But no need to worry, here are mangoes, and Lassi, that not only give you additional energy, but minerals as well,” he added in a lighter vein.
Mango is the most favorite fruit of Pakistanis.
People belonging to all ages, and income brackets simply love this commodity.
There are several mango delicacies that attract Pakistanis, of which mango shake, mango sauce, mango with Lassi (yogurt syrup or watery milk), mango with bread etc.
Mango by nature has a warm effect, therefore, mangos are usually taken with katchi Lassi.
Katchi Lassi is made of milk. Usually one glass of milk is mixed in a bowl of cold and salty water, which gives a delicious taste with mangoes, and cope with the minerals shortage in body due to excessive heat.
Mango-Lassi is more famous in rural Pakistan where instead of cold drinks or other syrups, the combination is used for Iftar (breaking the fast). Some use that for Suhur (early morning feast), but mainly it is an Iftar delicacy.
Mango sauce is another popular Suhur delight. People generally take mango sauce with Roti (bread), however, in Sindh, and Baluchistan provinces, people take it with rice as well.
“Apart from the common people, but being a grower, I am excited too to taste the mango delights at Suhur and Iftar”, a jolly Mehar said.
Mango season in Pakistan, which is famous for production of delicious mangoes, begins in the last week of May, and remains at its peak by the third week of July.
With the advent of August, mangoes start to disappear from the markets.
Pakistan is the sixth largest mango producing country in the world after India China, Thailand, Indonesia, and Mexico, producing 1.9 million tons annually.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to be closer to Allah through prayers, self-restraint and good deeds.