Nisf Sha’aban

May 23rd, 2016

Dimah - http://www.orangeblossomwater.net - Nisf Sha'aban 1 500

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. In Hama, special sweets are prepared for this occasion, these sweets can’t be found on other days of the year. Parents visit their married daughters and take with them these sweets as a gift.

Four kind of sweets are prepared:
– Ma’amoul Abiad
– Makbouseh
– Mahia
– Bashmina

More pictures with details:

Dimah - http://www.orangeblossomwater.net - Nisf Sha'aban 2 500

Dimah - http://www.orangeblossomwater.net -Nisf Sha'aban 3 500

Dimah - http://www.orangeblossomwater.net -Nisf Sha'aban 4 500

 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.

Read the recipe: Ma’amoul Abiad

Dimah - http://www.orangeblossomwater.net -Nisf Sha'aban 5 500

Dimah - http://www.orangeblossomwater.net -Nisf Sha'aban 6 500

Above: Makbouseh

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.

Read the recipe: Makbouseh

Dimah - http://www.orangeblossomwater.net -Nisf Sha'aban 7 500

Dimah - http://www.orangeblossomwater.net -Nisf Sha'aban 8 500

Above: Mahia

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 and cooled then cut into diamonds, it is available in two colors white (without food coloring) and red (food coloring is added). Usually it is purchased and no one make it at home, but I asked for the recipe and it actually took few attempts until I got a result almost similar to Mahia sold in Hama.

Read the recipe: Mahia

 Dimah - http://www.orangeblossomwater.net - Nisf Sha'ban 4

Dimah - http://www.orangeblossomwater.net - Nisf Sha'ban 5

Above: Bashmina

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. These photos of Bashmina are from 2010.

Dimah - http://www.orangeblossomwater.net -Nisf Sha'aban 91 500

Dimah - http://www.orangeblossomwater.net -Nisf Sha'aban 92 500

Here are photos from Hama that show you the celebration of Nisf Sha’aban, click here and here and here.

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4 Responses to “Nisf Sha’aban”

  1. sarvenaz says:

    Salam,

    Sawm maqbool va mobarak !

  2. Famidha says:

    is Mahia stuffed in Makbouseh? Everything displayed here is totally new to me and very interesting to learn more about your country InshaAllah, hope to try and make these some time… Back home in India too Nisf Shaaban is a day of celebration but off late there has been divided opinion about it.. Have you tried making Bashmina? :-)

    • Dimah says:

      Famidha: no, mahia is not stuffed in makbouseh.
      I haven’t tried making bashmina.
      Everything displayed here is totally new to many people in Syria, too. These sweets are specialty of my city “Hama”, and people from other cities like “Damascus, Lattakia, Aleppo” don’t know these sweets. Two days ago, a friend of us from Damascus was really surprised when he tasted makbouseh and mahia, he has never known about these sweets.

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