March 23, 2008

A Series of Pointless Posts -3- Om Ali


The Egyptian marriage rituals always amaze me and the thing that amaze me the most is the wedding party ritual. Regardless the class, always the wedding party will be as huge as possible, with as much food as possible, with as much attendees as possible. Celebrities will entertain the audiences whenever applicable. Weddings in Egypt are a way to show class. And regardless the class people always try to appear as elite as possible.
I have just attended another wedding, a typical Egyptian wedding, a nice ball-room, nice entertainment that included a belly-dancer and sure a mouth-watering menu. I hate weddings but I can’t deny that the only thing that would make me go through the whole rituals of partying till the early hours of the morning is my all time favorite pure Egyptian dessert “Om Ali”.
Though socialization isn’t one of my hobbies but people say that I have a welcoming smile. And that smile is my only weapon in such social occasion. And using that very smile I found my way to my beloved Om Ali.
At the dinner table I was chatting with a relative about my passion towards Om Ali. He wasn’t a fan. And I wondered how an Egyptian cannot be a fan of one of the few pure Egyptian desserts.
He had no clue about how a bowl of pastry, milk, and sugar be a pure Egyptian invention. And that is another thing that amazes about Egyptians. Regardless how well educated they are they give little or almost no attention to history.
I believe it is so important to know the history of things, even if this thing is a small bowl of dessert. I believe it is so important to know the history of this little bowl if it is connected to the Egyptian history in a way. How can anyone miss that this dessert was the way Om Ali, Aybak’s first wife, celebrated the death of her enemy, Shajar Al-Durr the queen of Egypt and Aybak’s second wife. How could anyone miss relating that pure Egyptian invention to that critical period of Egyptian history? I have always thought that this story is a fun way to know what happened at that time.
And regardless that some historians might argue that this wasn’t the way Shajar Al-Durr died but yet, why not telling our kids these kinds of stories. Why don’t we Egyptian value history? Why don’t we read?
So please next time before attacking your delicious dessert have a moment an think that this food made history.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

yaaah kol dah 3alashan om ali

tesada2ey ana kaman ma kontesh a3raf al History Beta3ha

tayeb al Ma7shey eh 7aekaytoo ba2a

U realy love Om ali

ana 7ases enek betdaf3ey 3an wa7da sa7betek mesh just a Dessert.

Shimaa Gamal said...

Hello Omar
I am not defending Om Ali as a dessert. My point was about the Egyptian history and how Egyptians don’t care about it. They don’t even care to know what’s really Egyptian and what’s not.
As for “el ma7shy”, it is not Egyptian, it is originally Turkish. The Egyptian cuisine has lots of Turkish influences because of the really long period of Ottoman’s occupation.
Again it is not about food, it is all about history.

Anonymous said...

I got it
but who said the egyptians dont care about their history
i think the only thing that egyptians are proud of is their history.
that is the only thing we have.

and that is the only thing move us back
Br,
Omar

Shimaa Gamal said...

Hi Again Omar
The thing is, though Egyptians seem to be living on their history but really few Egyptians care about this history. Egyptians like to brag about that they are the oldest civilization on the world but I bet that most of them don’t know what happened to this civilization.
I bet that no one could even plot a time line of who ruled Egypt. Most of us miss the essential facts. The story about Om Ali, was a way to show that most of us doesn’t know much about the period of Mamluks. We only know what the movie said. most of us really believe that Egypt didn’t has a ruler after Aybak till the Tatar knocked the Egyptian doors and only then “Rushdi Abaza” told “Ahmed Mazhar” to step in the Sultan’s shoes. Shajar Al-Durr for us was just a vicious femme fatal who wanted to rule Egypt at any cost. We think that Kotoz was a pure hero with all the chivalry traits.
My point is, if we really read our history we could have done better in the present. History is an evaluation of incidents. It gets repeated as everything in this life moves in a circle. We would have done better if we just cared to read about our previous mistakes, so that we won’t do them again with the very same persons.
Got me?

Anonymous said...

Agree with u i think it can be anew post

about this point

River Nael said...

What you mentioned in your introductory paragraph is very much true. An explanation of why this takes place could be found in Galal Amin's outstanding work: “Whatever Happened to the Egyptians? Changes in Egyptian Society from 1950 to the Present” published by the AUC press in 2000. The work is one of the few book-length studies that thoroughly examined the impact of the highly intensive social mobilization process Egypt has experienced over the past few decades. A whole chapter is designated for weddings.

River Nael

Shimaa Gamal said...

Hello River Nael
I have got Galal Amin’s book but unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to read it till now. I guess now I have a good reason to put it as a priority. It will soon be placed by my bedside.
Thanks for stopping by
Shimaa

Miss Egyptiana "Trapped Soul" said...

another thing in common
om Ali, is my favorit dessert of all times :) mekasarat, eshta, we tekon dafia mosh so7'na ... ya salaaaaaam wala fel a7lam :)
--------------------

about reading history mmm i like it, but i am interested more in specific parts ... related to religions and believs, myth, ...ect .. enty 3arfa el nezam da

bas still mosh fahma ezay mafish 7ad 3aref en om Ali etsamet keda 3ala esm merat aybak... it is an old story !!!

mmm yaaaaaah i am on diet these days, and i feel like calling malky for one big special om ali ... i have to resist, i have to resist, yes i have to .. alah yesam7ek ya shimaa :(:(:(

my best regards sweety

Shimaa Gamal said...

Top of the morning to you my dear Egyptiana
I really miss reading you, and I got worried when I found out that you decided to make all your blogs private.
One more thing in common :) I am on diet too but I can never resist Om Ali :) the same way I can't resist history. I used to believe that Om Ali's story is well known but I discovered that lots of people don't know it and the shocking fact was that most of them didn't really care to know.
Anyway, to keep on your diet steal a couple of spoons from a friend :) I always do it and I double the enjoyement. I enjoy Om Ali and I enjoy the stealing ;)