Celebrating Eid al-Fitr: History, A Recipe, and a Book List

Written by Rania, staff member, Keshen Goodman Public Library

Muslims worldwide will be celebrating Eid the weekend of May 23-24, 2020. The exact date of which will be announced on Friday, May 22 after moon observations. Eid al-Fitr is the three-day festival that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

It is an occasion of peace and joy. People gather at mosques for Eid prayers, visit relatives, indulge in delicious festive meals, and contribute to charity.

For a better understanding of what Eid al-Fitr celebration means for Muslims, it is important to know more about the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan.

Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and it’s the most religiously significant time of year for Muslims throughout the world. It marks the month in which the Quran—the holy text of Islam—was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.

The naming of Ramadan originated from the Arabic word “ar-ramad,” which means scorching heat.

Each day during Ramadan, Muslims do not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. They are also supposed to avoid impure thoughts and bad behaviour. Muslims break their daily fasts by sharing meals with family and friends.

The first pre-dawn meal of the day during Ramadan is called “suhoor.” Each day’s fast is broken with a meal known as “iftar.” Traditionally, a date is eaten to break the fast. The types of foods served vary according to culture.

More information about Ramadan can be found in the video here.opens a new window

Ramadan at the Library

Halifax Public Libraries believes in building a strong, supportive and healthy community engagement with diverse cultures. We mark the start of Ramadan with a popular event at Keshen Goodman Public Library for the whole community, including crafts and snacks.

Eid in Halifax

The Eid prayer is the most special and precious time of the Eid celebration. In the past, Muslims of all ages have come together for prayer at the BMO Soccer Centre. Additional video of this special occasion can be seen here.opens a new window

Eidiyah

 A popular social tradition for Muslims is Eidiyah gifts of cash given to children by their parents and older relatives within a family. It considered as a reward for successfully completing a month’s fasting in Ramadan.


Eid al-Fitr Cookies recipe

Eid cookies are sweet biscuits which are enjoyed in most Muslim households celebrating the end of Ramadan.

(Recipe from amiraspantry.com)             

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • A dash of salt - approximately 1/8 teaspoon                                         
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (optional but highly recommended)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
  • 1 cup ghee, room temperature and not melted
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • For the pistachios and honey filling
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup pistachios coarsely ground
  • For garnishing

Method

  • In your mixing bowl, add flour, salt, sugar, yeast, cinnamon and sesame seeds.
  • Add unmelted ghee - at room temperature - and mix until completely incorporated.
  • Add water and continue mixing until you get a nice consistent dough.
  • Cover and let it rest for an hour.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a small pot over medium heat add ghee or butter then add the flour and mix until the flour turns golden brown.
  • Remove from heat, add sesame and honey, mixing well, then return the mixture to a low heat until it thickens.
  • Remove from heat, add pistachios and mix well. Let it cool down for 10 minutes then form it into 20 small balls.
  • After an hour has passed, divide the dough equally into 20 balls of 40g each approximately.
  • Place dough balls in a plate and cover with plastic wrapping.
  • Now start filling and shaping the kahk.
  • Take one of the balls of dough, put one portion of the pistachio filling in the centre, and close the dough to form a ball around it.
  • Press lightly into a Mamoul tool or make an engraving using a fork.
  • Place the cookies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, bake in a 350ºF oven for 20-25 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown.
  • Let the cookies cool down on a wire rack. Store in an air tight container.
  • When ready to enjoy, sprinkle top with powdered sugar.

Fiction with Muslim main characters

Written by Laura, staff member, Keshen Goodman Public Library

Enjoy some of these digital titles on OverDrive and hoopla.

Children’s

1. The Proudest Blue: A story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad

This beautiful picture book tells the story of Faizah on her first day of school, but this first day isn’t like all the rest! It is also the first day that her older sister Asiya is wearing hijab. Faizah watches proudly as her sister wears her bright blue hijab for the first time and the strength she shows about being different.
Available on OverDriveopens a new window

2. The Gift of Ramadan by Rabiah York Lumbard

The gift of Ramadan tells the story of Sophia a young girl who wants to try fasting for Ramadan for the first time. When Sophia eats a cookie and feels bad, her grandmother shows Sophia that it is okay to start again and all the different and beautiful ways Ramadan can be observed at any age.
Available on hooplaopens a new window

3. Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

Other Words for Home tells the story of Jude, a young girl, forced to flee Syria and move to the United States. Jude and her mother go to Cincinnati to live with relatives and Jude has to adapt to living in a new environment. As Jude faces challenges in her new life, she also discovers a lot about herself and that despite her longing for Syria, realizes she may be able to find her faith and home in two different places.
Available on OverDriveopens a new window


Teens'

1. Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali

Love from A to Z tells the story of what happens when two individuals meet by chance, but then keep meeting. Zayneb is a passionate, feminist, activist and Muslim girl living in the United States. When Zayneb gets suspended for confronting her a teacher at her school, she heads to spend spring break in Doha, Qatar with her aunt. Adam is a devoted Muslim and university student who’s just been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and is living with his father and sister in Doha. This story is about what happens when two people keep finding each other, and the things they discover along the way.
Available on OverDriveopens a new window

2. All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney

All-American Muslim girl tells the story of Allie Abraham, the daughter of a University professor. When Allie’s father gets a job in Providence Georgia they settle down and Allie starts at the local high school. Allie starts dating a popular student at her school, Jack Henderson and is even making friends, when things are thrown for a loop. Jack’s father is a popular talk show host and does not view Muslim individuals favourably and Allie has not told Jack she is Muslim, even if she is not practicing. As the story progresses and Allie begins to find herself in her faith for the first time, she discovers being Muslim is something to be proud of, even when society is saying otherwise.
Available on OverDriveopens a new window


Adults'

1. We have always been here: A Queer Muslim Memoir by Samra Habib

We have always been here is an autobiography of Samra Habib, a Muslim woman who comes to Canada as a child with her family as refugees from Pakistan. This rich life story details the struggles Samra and her family faced as new Canadians to her embracing her life as a queer, feminist, Muslim woman.
Available on OverDriveopens a new window

2. Exit West a Novel by Mohsin Hamid

Exit West is a story about two individuals brought together in an unnamed country in the midst of a civil war. Nadia and Saeed meet and fall in love, but as they do, their country is falling apart. As the situation in their country escalates they discover doors that will take them away to other lands, where war is non existent. This fantasy story of displacement is about two Muslim individuals forced to flee their country, and risk jumping into the unknown.
Available on OverDriveopens a new window

3. Ayesha at last

Described as a modern day Pride and Prejudice, Ayesha at last tells the story of Ayesha, an outspoken Muslim woman living with her family. This includes her cousin Hafsa who is turning down marriage proposals right and left.
Ayesha, while lonely, does not want an arranged marriage, as her family might want and then she meets Khalid. Khalid is traditional and judgmental and Ayesha is undeniably attracted to him.

When Ayesha’s cousin Hafsa and Khalid are announced to be wed, Ayesha and Khalid have to figure out if their differences can work and if he will be her modern day mister Darcy.
Available on OverDriveopens a new window

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