Cairo delights at sweet candies as Muslim festival nears

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Egyptian women decorate traditional sugar statuettes in the capital Cairo on November 2, 2019, ahead of celebrations of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed's birthday, known as "Al Mawlid Al Nabawi". (AFP)
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An Egyptian child gazes at statuettes made from sugar in front of a candy factory in the capital Cairo on November 2, 2019, ahead of celebrations of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed's birthday, known as "Al Mawlid Al Nabawi". (AFP)
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A woman decorates traditional sugar candy at a market in the capital Cairo on November 02, 2019, ahead of celebrations of the birthday of Prophet Mohammed, known in Arabic as "al-Mawlid al-Nabawi". (AFP)
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An Egyptian confectioner shows bars of sweets with sesame at a candy factory in the capital Cairo on November 2, 2019, ahead of celebrations of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed's birthday, known as "Al Mawlid Al Nabawi". (AFP)
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Egyptian women decorate traditional sugar statuettes in the capital Cairo on November 2, 2019, ahead of celebrations of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed's birthday, known as "Al Mawlid Al Nabawi". (AFP)
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Decorated traditional sugar statuettes are ready to be distributed to vendors in the capital Cairo on November 2, 2019, ahead of celebrations of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed's birthday, known as "Al Mawlid Al Nabawi". (AFP)
Updated 03 November 2019

Cairo delights at sweet candies as Muslim festival nears

  • Decorated sugar dolls, horse-shaped candies and nut-filled treats are on display in shops lining Cairo
  • Sunni Muslims in many parts of the world celebrate Prophet Mohammed’s birthday

CAIRO: The sweet smell of candies wafts through downtown Cairo’s historic Bab Al-Bahr street as the Muslim Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, known as “Al Mawlid Al Nabawi,” draws near.
Decorated sugar dolls, horse-shaped candies and nut-filled treats are on display in shops lining the busy street near Islamic Cairo, a historic district filled with mosques, tombs and caravanserais.
“We love to share this happy mood,” said one stall-holder who was adorning a candy doll with glitter and colored paper, drawing intense interest from a group of playful children.
“We come to Bab Al-Bahr during this time every year to decorate candies.”
Sunni Muslims in many parts of the world celebrate Prophet Mohammed’s birthday on the 12th day of the third month of the Islamic calendar, which this year falls on Saturday, November 9.
Prophet Muhammad was born in Saudi Arabia’s arid mountainous city of Makkah, the holiest site in Islam, some 1450 years ago.
The Al Mawlid Al Nabawi celebrations are said to have originated in Egypt in the Fatimid dynasty which ruled the country some 1,000 years ago.
As the faithful look forward to the celebrations, Cairo’s dessert makers are preparing other mouthwatering sweets made of peanuts, sesame seeds, coconuts and pistachios.
“I have been coming here annually for the past 35 years because I love decorating the candies,” said 56-year-old Abdou, who is originally a carpenter.
“These sweets are available for the poor and the rich alike.”
Nearby, 25-year-old Sayed stood stirring a boiling sugary mix with a large wooden spatula.
“I have been working at this shop since I was 12 years old,” he said, adding that his job keeps Egypt’s sweet-tooths happy all year.
After the festivities, he said, “we go back to making chocolates and regular candies.”


Where We Are Going Today: Jeddah’s Dopamine Cafe

Updated 24 January 2020

Where We Are Going Today: Jeddah’s Dopamine Cafe

Complementing coffee with books and games, the perfect place to spend hours without being bored is Dopamine Cafe in Jeddah.

What sets this place apart from others in Jeddah is the range of activities that people can enjoy while having a cup or two of coffee.

The walls are lined with books for those seeking a moment of calm or are on their own, while groups of friends are guaranteed hours of entertainment thanks to the collections of games at the tables. Warm lights and soft music enhance the cozy and relaxing concept the cafe is going for.

It serves custom-crafted beverages, baked goods, breakfast options and more. The hazelnut cake is one of the best cakes I have had for a while — a chocolate sponge topped with espresso buttercream frosting and hazelnut chunks.

The cafe is calming and a great way to detox from the loud city and its busy lifestyle. It is located on Prince Sultan Road in Al-Rawdah district.