Mouled and Christmas in Tunisia




The Aleppo Dessert or "Asidat Zgougou"  is a dish that is prepared during the Mouled in Tunisia. Mouled is a term used in the colloquial Arabic to designate the birth of the Islamic prophet Mohommet.



The Christian version of Mouled is "Christmas" which is celebrated annually by Christians on December  25. Even though it is a non Muslim festivity, it is celebrated by some Tunisians.

It is true that most of Tunisians do not show much concern for Christmas, yet there are some others who have started to be interested in celebrating such festivity like they do in the Mouled..

Some of them decide to stay at home and celebrate Christmas with friends and family members. They buy Christmas trees, gifts for the kids, chocolates, Santa Claus Dolls and so on. 

This feast is also celebrated in some places like Jerba and in some churches like the Cathedral of St. Vincent de Paul in Tunis.

                                           The Santa Claus in Jerba


A concert held on December, 17 in the Cathedral of Tunis

In Tunisia, Tunisians do not prepare special dishes in Christmas. Whereas in Mouled, they prepare Asidet Zgougou. 

This dish has become an expensive dish. The lower class in Tunisia cannot afford to buy the ingredients which may reach 70 dinars (almost 30 $).

 So it has become a habit used by the middle and upper class who compete to exhibit their decorated bowls. If we go back to 1864, we will find out that Asidat zgouzou used to be a food prepared only by the poor. In that year, Tunisians suffered from revolution, poverty and famine. In order not to starve to death, the poor cooked the Aleppo Pine that year. 

In fact, the use of Aleppo Pine throughout history shows the absurdity of some aspects in life. 
Aleppo dessert from a dish of the poor to a sign of extravagance.
Wealth and poverty are socially constructed concepts. 





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