The history of Eid cakes in Egypt Is it Pharaonic or Islamic?

The bakery industry was associated with a dining table Ancient Egyptian; As the bread was the support of life, according to the description of the late Egyptologist Dr. Abdel Halim Nur al-Din, and there were many forms and types of bread in ancient Egypt; As it was mentioned in the lists of offerings that were abundant with him.

Among the Baked goods Which used to be similar to the cakes that are currently being made, there are types that enter in the manufacture of materials other than wheat and barley, so they fall under the category of pies.

In addition to regular wheat and barley flour, honey, milk, or fruits can be added to it, and most of the allocations expressed in these pies are portrayed as small round pancakes placed either separately or in season, and the quantities provided from them are often calculated by the number of utensils in which they are served.

Nowadays, geometric shapes are drawn on cakes; In what is known as “Cakes engraving According to the study prepared by Nur al-Din on bread in ancient Egypt, decorations have also been found on loaves of bread since ancient times, albeit few in number.

The decorations for round loaves were some circles, and ranged between five and six small circles appearing on the surface of the loaf.

Sometimes these circles are reduced until they reach one circle, and the five-finger prints appeared on the edge of the round loaf, and these decorations may have been related to the method of leveling the bread and its type..

Although there are other writings that refer to more details about Eid cakes and how they were made in ancient Egypt, and its direct link to the holidays, such as Dr. Sayed Karim’s book “The Mystery of Pharaonic Civilization”, many Egyptologists – including Zahi Hawass – do not rely on this. The book is for reference, with the understanding that Karim is an architect, not an Egyptologist”.

Cakes “understand him”

The scholar of Islamic history, Hassan Hafez, sees it as a tradition Eid Cakes Known nowadays, it mainly dates back to Islamic history, indicating that the ancient Egyptians made baked goods that resemble cakes, but there is no evidence to confirm the transmission and inheritance of this custom from ancient Egypt in its current form..

Hafez added to “Sky News Arabia”, that the history of the tradition of Eid cakes actually began with the era of Ahmed Ibn Tulun, that is, since the era of the Abbasid state, and it was made and distributed on religious occasions; Especially Eid al-Fitr.

Among the funny facts that Hafez tells about making cakes in the Tulunid era is that every piece of cake was filled with a dinar of gold, as a kind of propaganda by Ibn Tulun, and it was presented at tables called for by a crowd of statesmen and elites.

At one of the tables, the writer of Ibn Tulun – the charge d’affaires of the ministry – alerted one of his friends to the cakes, saying to him: “Understand him,” considering that they contain gold dinars, and from here the cakes were called “Understand him.””.

Fatimid era

The idea of ​​Eid cakes was crystallized in the Egyptian popular conscience, as well as it was linked to the festive rituals, especially the feasts, in Fatimid era; Hasan Hafez says that the Fatimids paid attention to manifestations of extravagance. This was evident in the huge tables, and the distribution of food to the poor, and to senior statesmen.

During the Fatimid era, festive aspects associated with the feasts were formed, so the Caliph had a specific costume for each holiday. On Eid al-Adha, he wore red clothes, referring to the sacrifice, and on Eid al-Fitr he wore a white uniform.

Also, on Eid al-Fitr there was a so-called “Dar al-Fitrah”, and this institution was responsible for all the necessary equipment to celebrate the holiday, including of course the manufacture and processing of “Eid cakes,” which were distributed in very large quantities.

Hafez believes that this custom created a close connection between celebrating Eid al-Fitr and distributing cakes, and then it came to be called “Eid cakes.”

A popular habit

And the custom of Eid cakes continued after the demise of the Fatimid state, and despite the Ayyubids’ attempts to obliterate their exploits, they preserved festive appearances, as was the case with the Mamluks. As their reign witnessed the transformation of the custom of making holiday cakes from the ruler’s palace to common people.

Since that day it has become a popular custom celebrated by the entire people on holidays, in addition to the participation of the Mamluk Sultans also by distributing food – including cakes – and money to the poor..

According to the Egyptian researcher, the Museum of Islamic Art includes among its flanks models of shapes and decorations that were used to decorate cakes and biscuits in such periods, and this custom extended from the Mamluk era to the Ottoman era, then the modern era..

Hafez concluded his speech to “Sky News Arabia”, by referring to the rituals of cake-making in the modern era, saying: “During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, cake-making during holidays became an authentic popular custom. Cake bars, while they go to cook it in what is known as the Baladi ovens.

He continued: “As for the last twenty years, this habit has started to fade away, and cakes have become manufactured in designated places and sold in commercial markets.
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