#SharingHalal: Helping Non-Muslims Learn More about RamadanWritten by Zabiha Halal
The spiritual journey of Ramadan will begin the evening of May 5, as millions of Muslims around the world begin 30 days of fasting. While the Muslim population in Canada continues to grow, many Canadians have little knowledge or understanding about the significance of Ramadan, and what the sacred occasion is all about.
To help spread cultural awareness, Zabiha Halal, a Canadian halal food brand, brought two families together for a Sunday night dinner - the Siddiqui’s, a Muslim family, and the Maleganovski Gonzalez’s, a non-Muslim family. It created an opportunity for the families with different backgrounds to gather around food and engage in a cultural exchange leading up to Ramadan.
Pakistani-Canadian filmmaker, Haya Waseem – whose short films have screened at TIFF, Cannes, and Berlinale - was engaged to bring the meeting of these two families to life and to highlight and celebrate their shared values over traditional Pakistani cuisine.
Watch the video here (It may take a few moments for the video to load from YouTube)
The Siddiqui family hosted the Maleganovski Gonzalez family at their home and prepared traditional halal dishes including dates to open fast, biryani, chicken tikkas, and Zabiha Halal Pizza and Chicken Fries which the kids enjoyed. While both families connected over dinner and halal food, the Maleganovski Gonzalez were able to expand their knowledge and understanding of Ramadan and Muslim culture.
The Siddiqui’s welcomed the opportunity to shed light on the importance on Ramadan and explain that it’s all about giving and doing the best for their family and for the community. In addition to this, the family shared some key takeaways:
- “As parents of young kids, we realized that regardless of cultural differences, we all face the same struggles every day.”
- “The fundamental goal of both families was to ensure they raise their kids as good people, regardless of culture, religion or race.”
The Maleganovski Gonzalez family left the dinner with a new outlook and appreciation for Muslim culture. Their main takeaways included:
- “It was so unbelievable to see so many parallels between different cultures and seeing that the core values were the same. Regardless of religion or culture we had so much in common.”
- “Ramadan is about the body, mind and spirit and realizing what you need in the physical vs. what you need in your spiritual life.”
- “While food is an important part of Ramadan, it’s about so much more. It’s about cleansing your body and mind and practicing self-awareness.”
- “We learned that while you’re fasting if you get angry or act immorally, you’re breaking your fast.”
- “We learned a lot about halal food. We plan to start preparing halal meals for our kids.”
About the Siddiqui Family:
Umamah, a 33 year-old mom, and her husband Emad moved to Canada from Pakistan last year. The family now lives with their two daughters in Mississauga. Umamah works as a Project Administrator while Emad takes care of their girls, Alishba and Amal.
Umamah is committed to teaching her girls the importance of values like being thankful and kind, especially during Ramadan. The family enjoys gathering around the table and inviting friends and family to their home.
About the Maleganovski Gonzalez Family:
Daniela is a 34 year-old stay-at-home mom and her husband Jonathan is a teacher. They live in Toronto with their two children, Ella and Jordan. Daniela’s family is originally from Argentina and Jonathan’s family is from Macedonia.
As a family from different backgrounds, they are dedicated to teaching their children about different cultures and religions. They are interested in learning more about Muslim culture, and the challenges of living in this ever-changing society.