Nisf Sha’aban – 2017

May 11th, 2017

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, they are Ma’amoul Abiad, Makbouseh, Mahia and Bashmina. In Aleppo, the food prepared for Nisf Sha’aban is different, the occasion is celebrated by making Ma’arouk Nisf Sha’aban (recipe next post) and Sambousek Lahmeh (meat pies).

More pictures with details:

 

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

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

Above: Mahia

Mahia is a specialty of Hama, available only in 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. I’m doing new tests to get perfect Mahia.

Read the recipe: Mahia


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. But I’m going to recreat this at home – I’ll post the recipe when I do.

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

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