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Historian: Eid cookies date back to Fatimid age

According to Ahmed Amer, a historian and an archaeologist, Eid al-Fitr cookies, a longstanding festive feature of the Islamic feast in Egypt, could date back hundreds of years to the Fatimid rule.

“During the Fatimid age, Egyptians would give out candies to state officials, organize huge banquets. Caliph al-Aziz Bellah would erect two banquets on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr,” according to Amer.

“Egyptians were anxious to bake cookies during the last week of Ramadan,” Amer said, referring to the holy fasting month preceding the feast. “Children would carry cookies-laden trays to ovens to get done with them before the feast,” he explains.

Following the prayers on the morning of the Eid’s first day, caliphs sat at their palaces to be served with the cookies. Celebrations were so lavish that new clothes and diverse sorts of cookies were given out to the commoners.

"The Fatimids tapped in their astronomy skills to determine the beginning and end of months, but under Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, Egyptians pressed him to return to the traditional moon sighting,” Amer said.

Celebrations would begin following the evening prayer of the last day of Ramadan, when the vizier dined with the caliph before Quranic recitations were delivered in a ceremonial event at the palace. Afterwards, according to Amer, the caliph would shower the public with coins and clothes. Military parades and musical performances ensued.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm


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