Sweet and rich, dates are essential for any gathering or event. Almost always served with coffee or tea, they date back to more than 6,000 years a staple aspect of the Middle Eastern diet. Typically used to break the fast, dates or date paste have also been integrated into the cuisine, especially in modern times. Three Gulf countries and a total of eight Middle Eastern states are ranked among the top 10 date producers in the world.

There are dozens of different varieties of dates, which are cultivated from the date palm tree. Bursting with fiber, potassium, copper, manganese, magnesium as well as several vitamins and of course its natural sugar, a handful of dates can satisfy almost all the nutritional needs required for human survival. In Kuwait, dates start to come into season in the late summer and early fall.

Date palms planted all across the city, in private gardens and public spaces, will be bagged - where the fruit in bunches is wrapped to protect it from falling and birds - and eventually the dates once ripened will be collected and distributed or sold at market.

Photo Essay by Yasser Al-Zayyat and Joseph Shagra