Amid a global pandemic, over 1 billion people still had every intention of indulging in sweets and celebrating this year’s Eid al-Fitr on Saturday and Sunday, the religious holiday that marks the end of fasting during Ramadan. Commonly referred to as the “sugar feast” (Turkey) or “sweet Eid” (Pakistan), a key aspect of celebrations has always involved exchanging desserts or candy.
This year, social distancing restrictions severely limited opportunities for Muslims to gather and share communal meals: Visiting friends or family, participating at charity events, buying a new outfit, and even hugging relatives may be off-limits, but for those with a sweet tooth, there are still plenty of ways to find joy. The map below displays the kind of desserts traditionally eaten during Eid. From an array of puddings and custards in South Asia to delicious cakes like syrup-soaked basbousa in Egypt, the infographic highlights the diversity of Muslim food cultures.
For decades and perhaps centuries, the dessert cultures and sweet treats of Eid al-Fitr have crisscrossed the planet. No country highlighted on the map is exclusive to just one category of desserts.
Take cookies: found everywhere, yet certain regions on the map were pinpointed as biscuit havens due to specialties like tcharek m’saker, an almond-filled crescent cookie from Algeria, or kueh tae, a biscuit pastry filled with pineapple jam served in Malaysia. When you consider areas like North America, France, or the United Kingdom, it is impossible to restrict the type of Eid desserts to just one style when so many immigrant communities and food cultures coexist and infuse one another on a regular basis. Whether munching on gazz, candied nougats from Iran, or Somali crepes showered in sugar, Eid treats have consistently provided respite from hardships and delighted our world. Eid Mubarak!
NOTE: The data appearing in the infographic was sourced from a range of accredited news outlets, World Population Review, recipe/food sites, and Wikipedia.