Saudi Arabia is four times the size of France, and is mostly desert. Despite its geographical set up, palm groves - which grow by oases - produce 17% of the world’s dates.
Saudi Arabia boasts 157,000 hectares of date palms. Date production is the second-largest agricultural industry of the country: 1.1 million tons and 160 date varieties are harvested each year.
The sacred fruit is part of Ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian religious iconography. Mentioned 29 times in the Quran, this sacred fruit can also soothe pregnancy pains and overcome vitamin deficiencies when breastfeeding.
Date sales go through the roof in Ramadan: the small, sweet fruit is usually taken to break one’s fast at the day’s end. This practice is one of Islam’s Sunnahs: good practices inspired by the Prophet Muhammad’s life.
Pilgrims returning from Hajj, the traditional pilgrimage to Mecca, do so with gifts of dates for their loved ones.