English botanist John Gerard exalted the medicinal powers of the "drunken date," proclaiming "Whosoever eateth thereof waxeth drunke, because it doth exceedingly amaze and astonish the senses." Dates are considered a "legal" food in Elaine Gottschall's Specific Carbohydrate Diet for persons with bowel/intestinal disorders. Beer, however, is "illegal." Muhammad began the tradition of breaking the fast during the holy month of Ramadan by eating Dates. When combined with bone of a dog, a donkey's hoof, and oil or fat, date kernels in part comprised a substance used to speed up hair growth in Islamic Alchemy. The Date Palm Film Festival in New Zealand began in 2003 to showcase films from North Africa and the Middle East in an attempt to breakdown stereotypes and promote different cultural perspectives from the region. Song of Solomon 7:6: "How beautiful and how delightful you are, my love, with all your charms! Your stature is like a palm tree, and your breasts are like its clusters. I said, 'I will climb the palm tree, I will take hold of its fruit stalks.' The Date Palm was an emblem of the Egyptian creator god, Ammon Ra, as well as Hathor, the sky goddess of maternity and fertility. Date farmers generally plant one male palm to pollinate every 50 females. Female Date palms achieve full fruit production at about 10 years and will continue for over 60 years. The 'Fruit Fly Dating Game' coined by Queen's University researchers discovered that seeking the most attractive mate leads to dramatically lower rates of reproductive success in the next generation. "Saintliness is a long way off. It is like a tall and beautiful palm tree. If you climb it, you drink the love potion, but if you fall you break into pieces." - Punjabi proverb. Sarah Clark from NYC set the record for online speed dating Feb. 14, 2009 by completing 390 3-minutes dates in 24 hours. The runner-up was San Francisco's Francesca Salcido, who managed 316 dates. Cultivated as early as 6000 BCE, dates have been a staple food of the Middle East, from Mesopotamia to prehistoric Egypt. The prevalence of Date Palms led to the establishment and prosperity of the city of Jericho, called the "City of Palm Trees". In later times, Arabs spread dates around South and South East Asia, northern Africa, Spain and Italy. Spanish explorers introduced date seedlings into Mexico and Baja California. The first date palms in California were seedlings planted by Franciscan and Jesuit missionaries in 1769. Iraq has long led the world in date production. Currently, Iraq has 22 million date palms producing nearly 600,000 tons of dates annually. In 2007 a Saudi investor offered 1 million Saudi dollars to anyone who could remove a date palm tree from the construction site of a new shopping mall. Several failed attempts to uproot the palm with tractors led religious sheikhs to conclude that a family of Jinns (Spirits) was living underneath the tree and protecting it. "It is good to know the truth, but it is better to speak of palm trees." - Arab proverb
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