Ode Sweet Ode : A Brief Glossary Of Mawlid Sweets
Image Credit: Baklava is a popularly eaten dish all over the world

Milad Un Nabi celebrations have different scales depending on which part of the world you’re in. In some places, it is a small, intimate affair, as families come together to share food, and exchange gifts and good wishes. In others, organised events such as Quran recitation contests may be held at the local mosque, or spiritual conferences arranged. And in places like Indonesia, there are full-fledged street parades and festivities.

What is common to the Mawlid celebrations — especially in Africa and the Middle East — is the presence of sweets. Here’s a brief glossary of Mawlid sweets:

From Morocco

Kahbu al ghazal — i.e. ‘gazelle’s horns’, fine pastry filled with almond paste mixed with orange flower water and powdered cinnamon

Kraschel — leavened biscuits flavoured with sesame and orange flower water

Briouat — triangular pastry parcels filled with chopped, toasted almonds and dipped in honey

Baghrir — pastries made of semolina, eggs, salt, brewer’s yeast and water; pan-fried and served sprinkled with butter and honey 

M’semmen — fine square pastries folded over and pan-fried or baked

From Algeria

Tamina — sweet made with toasted ground semolina, butter and honey. Typically decorated with cinnamon or sugared almonds.

From Egypt

‘Horse Candies’ — pink-coloured candies shaped like knights on horses

Mshabbak — fried fritters made with wheat, sugar, butter and eggs

Mawlid Bride — a figurine made of sugary paste that is dressed in paper skirts, glitter and fabric flowers. The dolls are presented to women by their fiances, along with a host of other sweets made of dried fruit, nuts and nougat.

Halawiyat is the tradition of laying out free sweets for passers-by

Aseeda — dough-based dessert made from cooked wheat flour, butter and honey.

From Tunisia

Assidat Zgougou — traditional dessert made with seeds of Aleppo pine, sugar, flour, starch, water, and rosewater

From The Middle East And Lebanon

Halawiyat — tradition of laying out free sweets (containing sesame seeds, caramelised peanuts, pistachios and other nuts) for passersby to partake of

Maamoul — biscuit stuffed with date paste or nuts

Turkish Delight — confections made with starch and sugar

Baklava, rice pudding, semolina porridge and date cookies are universally popular sweets, regardless of geography.