Jamal Ghozi, owner of a well-known national textile and garment company, comes from a family in Surabaya that is firmly rooted in business. This means that he, as well as many of his other family members, can be scattered far and wide at any time of the year, especially given that he is also the Honorary Consul of Morocco in Surabaya. But, of course, Jamal—along with wife Azza Dina Jamal and daughter Kenisha Raymia Jamal—tries to keep the family’s annual Eid celebrations intimate and warm at their home in Surabaya.
Like other Muslim families, the Jamals believe that the month of Ramadan is all about giving back and being thankful for all the blessings they have in life and in their family. For them, it’s also a time for sharing with the less fortunate and to strengthen friendships and bonds between friends and relatives.
“I believe that Lebaran is the perfect time to come together as a big family and to meet friends whom we haven’t met for a long time—it is the perfect time to reconnect and unite,” says Azza during an intimate chat with Indonesia Tatler.
“During Ramadan, we reflect on ourselves and our conduct, pray, and try to be charitable to others, while at the same time we try to keep ourselves healthy by preparing hearty food for the iftar meal,” adds Azza.
“My husband and I love to have a family ritual of breaking our fast together with other family members and friends—I usually prepare several iftar menus at home. After all, I think that having family and friends all sat down together to enjoy home-cooked meals is the best part of Ramadan. A box of dates is always the best option to start with,” she adds.
An active lady who is hands-on with a charitable organisation and who counts interior design among her hobbies, Azza has to keep fit and well during Ramadan. Her secret is to stay hydrated by drinking extra water, especially during iftar and suhoor.
“A great tip is to add fruit, ginger or honey to your bottle of water to enhance the flavour and also to get your dose of daily vitamins,” she reveals.
A mother and also a housewife, Azza always enjoys preparing dishes for Eid al-Fitr at her residence, where friends and relatives come to visit on the second day of Lebaran. “We celebrate the first day with our closest family members,” she tells us. “But on the second day, we have an open house—I usually prepare varieties of dates and baklava placed in beautiful china, as well as traditional dishes, cakes and cookies such as ketupat sets with rendang, chicken opor, and vegetables.”
The Jamals try to keep family traditions alive by making their annual Eid celebrations the same as in years gone by. That said, they might mix up the décor with Moroccan or other styles, or add international dishes to the menus, but all the while keeping the Lebaran essentials close to hand. And, of course, in keeping with their family-first approach, they try to stay in Surabaya every Lebaran.
Chic and fashionable but deeply spiritual, Azza covers up and focuses on accessories during Ramadan and Lebaran by wearing kaftans with accessories to match. “I always choose a style, model and shape from each designer that suits my personality and makes me feel good while wearing it,” she says. “Biyan is my favourite, since each piece is timeless and chic.
“As a Muslim woman” she adds, “I always learn each day about how to be a good wife and a good mother to my children. And Ramadan is the perfect time for me to reflect, stay humble, and to enjoy my nature as a woman. My ultimate wish this year is for the best Ramadan ever, as well as good health, happiness and faith, and to wish everyone blessings from deep in our hearts,” Azza concludes.
Photo courtersy of Ryan Tandya; Hair and Make-Up by Michelle Kwan; Wardrobe on Azza Dina by Biyan