Ramadan, which is considered the holiest time for Muslims, happens on the ninth month of the 12-month lunar calendar that is followed in Islam. Nearly 2 billion Muslims around the globe enter Ramadan to reconnect with God through fasting, abstinence from sex and drink from dawn to dusk, praying extra dedications at home and in mosques in the evenings, and seeking forgiveness for sins.

For the Kingdom of Morocco’s ambassador to Indonesia, HE Ouadiâ Benabdellah, and his spouse, Madame Hind Benabdellah, Ramadan is a time to get closer to God and also time to preserve silaturahim by spending time together with his family and visiting relatives. Although he doesn’t get to return to Morocco in this special month, the Ramadan atmosphere in Jakarta reminds him very much of his home town.

Moroccan people are known to be fond of their own traditions. They celebrate their religious occasions in their own way—in Moroccan philosophy, the holy month is a turning point for your spirit to be purified and it’s an appropriate time to share what you have with less-fortunate people, HE Ouadiâ told Indonesia Tatler.

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When it comes to Ramadan, traditional dishes and pastries are at the top of the list of most-consumed foods in Morocco. Sandwiches and chips are quickly replaced with a soup called harira, which is Morocco’s famous tomato and lentil soup: a recipe that every Moroccan cook has in their collection. It is a hearty dish as it features meat—beef, lamb, or chicken—as well as legumes. It is fragrantly seasoned with ginger, pepper, turmeric, and cinnamon, and also boasts a robust quantity of fresh herbs such as cilantro and parsley. In addition, hard-boiled eggs, sweet or savoury filled pastries, fried fish, and various pancakes and flatbreads might also be served.

Beside harira, another delightful food to serve for fast-breaking, or ftour, is rich honey pastries called chebbakiya, a Moroccan sesame cookie shaped into a flower, then fried and then coated with honey. The ftour—the Arabic word for fast-breaking as Muslims break their fast in a literal sense at sunset—is undoubtedly the most important meal in a Ramadan day.

“For that, my wife enthusiastically decorate our table with all sorts of Moroccan dishes and pastries, including customary pastries like briwate, baghrire, and msemmen. In the past, it was common for most Moroccan families to make these pastries at home. Today, many opt to purchase these delicacies at bakeries that increase in numbers during Ramadan,” explains HE Ouadiâ.

This story appears in the June 2019 issue of Indonesia Tatler. For the full story, grab the copy at your nearest newsstand, or subscribe here.

[Photographer: irwan kurnia]