Earlier this month, Muslims around the world celebrated Mawlid al-Nabawi, observance of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday. In Egypt, the celebrations are influenced by a local tradition that dates back nearly 1,000 years, to the Fatimid period: to children's delight, they devour sugary treats made in the shape of a bride or a horse.
While production techniques for these confections have advanced, a few candymakers have remained intent on preserving the centuries-old practice of making and decorating the figures by hand.
“This profession was passed down to my father from his grandfather, and we will teach it to our children,” Abdul Khader Yahya, who makes sugar dolls, told Al-Monitor during a visit to his factory in Tanta, in the Nile Delta.
The Yahya Abdul factory, a family operation, is one of Egypt’s oldest sugar doll manufacturers. Al-Monitor met with the family that carries on this uniquely Egyptian tradition.
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