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'Eid symbolises love': Cakemaker marks Muslim holiday with community giveaway

Fatimah Omran - Cake shop owner Source: supplied

As Muslims across Australia prepare to celebrate Eid Al Fitr on Sunday, one Sydney small business owner is eager to spread joy and happiness to end an otherwise subdued Ramadan.

Lebanese-Australian Fatimah Omran is baking cakes and giving them away for Eid Al Fitr, the religious holiday celebrated by Muslims to mark the end of fasting during Ramadan.

The initiative is her way of ensuring that community members hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic can also enjoy the holiday.  

Coronavirus social distancing measures have affected the way Muslims have marked the holy month of Ramadan, as mosques have kept their doors closed. 

Fatimah Omran
Fatimah Omran will open her new shop, called The Baking Factory, later this year.

Eid Al Fitr is the first and only day in the month of Shawwal during which Muslims are not permitted to fast from dawn to sunset.

Celebrations usually feature two to three days of celebrations that include special morning prayers.

Sweet dishes are usually prepared at homes and gifts are given to children and to those in need.

Festivities usually begin on the night before the first day of Eid with the baking of maamoul biscuits.

For Ms Omran, the joy and celebration of the Eid festival has always been very special and remind her of years past.

She remembers gathering with her children to mix and bake maamoul biscuits in a joyful atmosphere.

“Baking maamoul, my whole family contributed by laying out sheets on the kitchen floor and we all helped my mother make an abundant supply that we would distribute to close relatives and friends.

“Growing up not only did we dress in new clothes but woke up pre-dawn and line up in front of my dad while he greeted us with Eid money gifts. We then accompanied my parents to the mosque for prayers.”

She recalls that Eid celebrations were also a time to reconnect with family and friends.

"We would reminisce while standing on the streets of Lakemba [outside the mosque] and chat about how Ramadan went by in a speed of lightning.

“Usually, the family would spend the rest of the day was spent visiting every single family member, giving gifts of money to every child and enjoying tables filled with all kinds of dessert and sweets you can imagine.

“Since childhood, I have celebrated on two occasions only, the Eid and Ramadan."

Fatimah Omran
Raspberry cakes by Fatimah Omran.
Recipes for Ramadan

She's eager to spread similar experiences to her own children, and part of that is to decorate her family home with Ramadan and Eid banners.

"I would like to make the days of Eid very special for my children so that they can appreciate the joy of Eid as we did."

Through her cake giveaway, she hopes to keep the spirit of celebration alive especially during these difficult times.

"This Eid, my children, and I will make the cakes and we will distribute them together to disadvantaged families, because Eid symbolises love, kindness and sympathy, and I would like my children to know and understand this."

To get the ball rolling on the initiative, she asked her followers on social media to nominate people who have been affected by the pandemic, to receive a cake on the first day of Eid.

"They don't have to be Arabs or Muslims," she says.

 "This is open for the public and everyone ... We all need to be happy now, especially in these circumstances."

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