Neighbourhood Week 2011
“Neighbourhood Week” – Let us serve, share and celebrate between 5 – 12 December.
Sharing Noah’s pudding (Ashura) is a symbolic representation of the unity and essential relationship of humans to one another and to their Creator.
Preparing the Noah’s pudding is a common practice among Muslim and Christian peoples around the Mediterranean. People prepare the pudding at home and send a bowl to each of the neighbours in their neighbourhood. As tradition goes, the residents of forty houses to your east, west, north and south are considered neighbours. One has the responsibility of maintaining good relations with their neighbours regardless of what their religion or beliefs may be.Ashura day is celebrated on 10th of Muharrem on the Islamic calendar. This falls on 5th of December.
WHAT IS ASHURA?
A fast-day among the Muslims observed on the tenth day of the month Muharram, and derived from the Jewish Day of Atonement, celebrated on the tenth of Tishri (Lev. xvi. 29, xxiii. 27).
The name is an Aramaic form of the Hebrew word “‘Asor” (the tenth), still to be found in a liturgical poem for the Day of Atonement (M. Sachs, “Festgebete der Israeliten,” 4th ed., pt. iv.88).
It was thousands of years ago, a thousand years after Adam. The Almighty Creator, because of His Compassion to humanity, sent Noah to invite back to the one belief of God. Noah asked his people to forgo paganism for 950 years, calling them to the true way, the truth, believing in one God. But people teased him and called him crazy. Later his wife joined the pagans in their betrayal.
Noah suffered with his people for 800 years. One day God sent the Angel Gabriel to order Noah to build a ship. Inspired by God, Noah built the ship. God ordered him to take two of every creature, the believers, and his family in the vessel, except his wife who was to be left behind. Noah again told people about the flood, and warned them against it. But their response remained same.
The believers and animals boarded the ship and supplies were loaded. As all non-believers were drowning with their all vices, a long and hard journey was awaiting Noah and the believers, a long, tumultuous journey.
Days had passed, and food was scarce. They were facing starvation. No food by itself was enough to make a good meal. Noah gathered all the food supplies that was available and by mixing them, produced a delicious meal. The believers thus survived the famine. The very next day, the waters started to recede.
Today we call the sweet dish prepared by Noah as “Ashura” or Noah’s Pudding.
Ashura is a day of great historical significances according to Islamic tradition. On this day:
- God accepted the repentance of Adam after his exile from Paradise;
- God saved Noah and his companions in the ark;
- God spoke directly to Moses and gave him the Commandments;
- On this same 10th of Muharram, Job was restored to health (from leprosy);
- Jonah was taken out from the belly of the fish;
- The sea was divided as the nation of Israel was delivered from captivity and Pharaoh’s army was destroyed.
THE TRADITION STILL CONTINUES TODAY!
The making of ashura is a common practice among Muslim and Christian people in the Middle East. For Muslims, it is customary to prepare ashura at a certain time of the year. Christian communities throughout the Middle East prepare a similar sweet wheat dish, called hedik, amah or qamhiyyi.
Ashura prepared at home is shared with the neighbors. Generally people who prepare ashura send a cup to each of the neighbors. One has responsibility of maintaining good relations with their neighbors regardless of what their religion or beliefs may be.
950 year old Recipe for Noah’s Pudding (Makes 30 servings: for you and your neighbors)
- 1 cup wheat
- 1 cup white beans
- 1 cup garbanzo beans
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup almonds
- 3/4 cup peanuts
- 12 dried apricots
- 5 1/2 cups sugar
- water (enough to cover)
- topping: walnuts, cinnamon
- Soak wheat, white beans, garbanzo beans and almonds in water overnight.
- Boil the above ingredients; remove the outer shell or skin.
- Soak the raisins in boiling water until they soften.
- Put all the ingredients above (steps 1-3) in a large pot and boil.
- Add peanuts and almonds (peeled and cut in half) at this point.
- Chop the apricot into small pieces; add to mixture along with sugar.
- Boil for 10-15 minutes.
- Enjoy your pudding!
Feel free to try different grains, fruits and nuts.