The neighbours dropped off a gift-dessert this afternoon. How nice of them to give us a Valentine’s Day present, I thought. I gave the capitalization of Feb. 14 too much credit, however; at least for the Arab world. Instead, we were fêted with an offering in celebration of the prophet Muhammad‘s birthday.
The Muhammad; founder of the Islam faith. God’s latest man on the street, like a Moses or a Jesus.
I’ve learned a few interesting things surrounding Mawlid, which is how Muslims refer to the day. Whereas in Christianity, December 25th is annually celebrated as the birth of Jesus, Muslims – like Jews – exclusively follow a lunar calendar for religious observances. This year, Mawlid falls on February 15.
Though fundamentally observed, there are differing views on when Mawlid falls, and whether or not it is actually a cause for celebration. The date discrepancy depends on which denomination of Islam one belongs to. Most Muslims generally accept the day as praiseworthy (surprise! that’s what Mawlid means). Opponents to exuberant festivities view it as countering Muhammad’s words, when he cited that innovation in religious practice is a misguidance of the faith. This is relevant because the first three generations of his followers did not celebrate his birth. Regardless of how one feels about Mawlid, it’s a national holiday in most Muslim countries (except Saudi Arabia, despite being home of Islam’s holiest city, Mecca), and that’s cause enough to be happy.
I also learned that Muhammad received his prophecies from the angel Gabriel. Coincidentally (?), fans of Christianity will recall that Gabriel played messenger for God, informing Mary that she would give birth to Jesus (it’s a Boy!)
The Mawlid dessert we were given is a layered pudding, topped with a crumbling of something available in green and cream colours, with a border and design of pine and walnuts.
It was fairly decent, in keeping with naturally sweet desserts from this part of the world (meaning no added sugar). But I think we were supposed to wait until tomorrow to taste it.
I’ll classify it as a crossover holiday gift for us – a Happy Mawlidtines Day treat for the Canadian neighbours.