During Ramadan, people fast between sunrise and sunset, during fasting the body can develop low blood sugar and you can suffer with lethargy and headaches. Dates contain slow releasing carbohydrates and an excellent source of fibre, sugar, magnesium and potassium. Breaking the fast is called Iftar and dates and milk are traditionally eaten to break the fasting.
The date palm Phoenix dactylifera originates in the Middle East, most likely Iraq, and has been cultivated for 1000's of years, it is a staple fruit and dates are known as the food Muhammad ate when he broke first.
All of the date palms I've seen have been around 12 meters high with the fruits growing around 1 meter from the ground. The date branch is tied to one of the fronds due to the weight of the dates and to stop them snapping off. Most of the dates are bagged in mesh to stop them falling onto the ground as they ripen, making them easier to harvest.
I was fortunate enough to be given a tray of fresh dates by one of my students from her garden, I was hesitant at first when I opened the pot as there was a strange smell of rotting fruit and the dates looked bruised, with soft spots on their flesh. I've only ever eaten dried dates that you traditionally see in the UK in boxes around Christmas times.
When I ate one I was surprised at soft and fresh the fruit tasted, it is very fleshy and stringy in texture but even the skin just dissolved in your mouth and it was one of the sweetest fruits I've ever tasted.