August 8th, 2010
Sha’aban is the eighth month of the Islamic calender, it is the month before Ramadan.
Nisf Sha’aban or Mid-Sha’aban is the 15th day of the eighth month (sha’aban) of the Islamic lunar calendar. Laylat Nisf Sha’aban is the night preceding the 15th day of Sha’aban. The most important event at the fifteenth of Sha’aban was the changing of the qiblah which was ordered by God from Masjid Al-Aqsa (Al-Aqsa Mosque) in Jerusalem, to Masjid Al-Haram (The Sacred Mosque) in Mecca.
In Syria it is a tradition to celebrate Nisf Sha’aban every year, each city has its own way of celebration.
In Hama, streets are lightened with extra lights and decorated with Syria’s flag. Sweet shops and mothers prepare special sweets, these kind of sweets are available only during Nisf Sha’aban, they can’t be found in other days of the year. Also, parents visit their married daughters and take with them these sweets as a gift.
Four kinds of sweets are prepared:
This year, Nisf Sha’aban (Mid-Sha’aban) was on 28/7/2010.
More pictures with details:
Bashmina is a specialty of Homs, it is available in Homs all over the year. It is prepared from flour, sugar syrup and cornflour (cornstarch), formed into square sheets and these thin sheets are arranged over each other as several layers, they are very light in weight, then cut them into cubes, and dusted with powdered sugar . It is purchased and can’t be prepared at home.
Mahia is a specialty of Hama (you can’t find it in other cities), and available only during Nisf Sha’aban. It is prepared from semolina, sugar, ghee and rose water, cooked then cooled and cut into diamonds, it is available in two colors white (no food coloring added) and red (food coloring is added). It is purchased.
Above: Ma’amoul Abiad
In Hama it is known as “Ma’amoul Abiad”, in other cities it has another name which is “Ghraibeh”. It is prepared from flour, sugar and ghee, and baked in the oven. Either purchased or prepared at home.
I’ll post the recipe soon. Read the recipe (Ma’amoul Abiad).
Makbouseh is a specialty of Hama (you can’t find it in other cities), and available only during Nisf Sha’aban, it has another name which is “Mehshiyeh”. The dough is prepared from flour, sugar and ghee, and the filling is prepared from semolina, sugar, water, orange blossom water and food coloring, it is formed as two layers of dough and the filling between them, and cut into diamonds then baked in the oven. Either purchased or prepared at home.
I’ll post the recipe soon. Read the recipe (Makbouseh).