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What is the Mawlid?

The Mawlid, sometimes called Mouloud, Maouloud, Mouled, or Maoulide, is the commemoration of the birth of Mohammed, prophet of the Islamic religion.

Yesterday was Christmas. But no trees, no snow, and no old man dressed in red who slips into the chimney to leave presents for all the children. None of that because it was simply not the Christmas of Christians but of Muslims, who also celebrate the birth of their Prophet, Mohammed, which is celebrated on the 12th of Rabia al Awal, the third month of the Muslim year. It is a holiday in most of the Muslim world.

Historically, the celebration dates back to the Fatimid dynasty, which used to celebrate this anniversary with processions in the court of the ruler of the time, during the day, as well as three sermons (khutbas) delivered before the faithful and in the presence of the Caliph.



A variety of traditions

Although customs vary from one country and region to another, it is an opportunity to meet in the holy places for times of meditation, and as a family to enjoy moments of conviviality around a good meal. The traditional festive meals are those we know: couscous, rechta, chakchouka … In the evening, time for pastries and sweet recipes. But here again, each country or region has its own specificities. In Tunisia, for example, a pastry cream made from Aleppo pine nuts called Assidat zgougou is prepared. In Algeria, candles are lit and tamina, a sweet paste made from semolina with an almost caramelized taste, is prepared. It is also not uncommon to hear firecrackers and small fireworks exploding.

In Senegal and Mali, important commemorations are organized with poems sung in honor of the prophet and lectures about his life and greatness.

In Saudi Arabia, however, although its celebration is not forbidden by the authorities, the Ministry of Religious Affairs considers the festival to be alien to Islam and an innovation of non-religious origin.