After 30 grueling days of fasting from food and water during daylight hours, this week Muslims will finally be indulging in daytime treats with the start of 'Eid-ul-fitr. With the coming of the new moon around August 31st, the festival of the fast breaking is a three-day celebration marking the end of Ramadan.
Many Muslims all over the world will dress in their finest, decorate their homes with lights and special 'Eid lanterns or balloons, put henna (a decorative temporary tattoo) on their hands and travel from party to party all day long, giving children little gifts or small sums of money called eidie, and performing traditional songs and dances. Special prayers are said on the first morning, and people are encouraged to give extra in charity and to provide food to the poor. So even though we've spent a month practicing self restraint, the 'Eid celebration is not intended to be an opportunity to over indulge -- it's tempered with devotion to God, the hopes that our previous wrongs will be forgiven and that our fasts will be accepted.
But what many do look forward to is having breakfast. Biting into a date or pile of pancakes during daylight is a surreal feeling come 'Eid day. We get so used to not eating during this time that it's often difficult to finish a full meal. For that reason, traditional breakfast 'Eid dishes are small, but very rich in taste, and range from the spicy and savoury to sticky sweet.
This year I'm very lucky to be celebrating 'Eid with my husband's family in Kuwait -- and I'm doubly lucky that their traditional 'Eid breakfast is my favourite dessert! It's a sweet, milky pasta dish with raisins or crushed pistachios or toasted almonds for garnish. We call it Atriya, but it's more popularly known as Seviyan. And, it's so easy to make! This is my recipe: