How Kahk El-Eid Became A Staple Of Egyptian Fitr Traditions

Via Al Arabiya English.

For as long as I can remember, we have always had kahk for Eid. It is one of these traditions that remain here and now, no matter how the outside world changes. Which got me thinking, what are the origins of kahk?

During the last ten days of Ramadan, it is not uncommon to find women, men, and children in some households gathered together at one corner of the house in front of a brewed dough-filled plate. Each member of the family has a certain task in this; some knead while others cut the dough into small pieces, stuffing them with malban, nuts, and dates. While one or two individuals are responsible for decorating the kahk, and then at the end, they spread it on a rectangular pan to be baked in the oven.

This method of creating a uniquely-Egyptian dessert has been passed down from one family member to the other in an uninterrupted sequence that can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians. The fascinating thing about this is despite all these years, this ancient tradition hasn’t changed at all.

At temples in Thebes and Memphis, there are wall drawings of ancient Egyptians making kahk, in addition, depictions of the ancient dessert have been found in tombs from the 18th dynasty. Some families even baked it before visiting the dead as it was considered an amulet against evils.

The ancient Egyptians used to make a special dough by mixing honey and butter on fire and then adding flour. They then molded it into different geometrical shapes or decorated it with depictions of animals or flowers, before putting it into the oven.

Via Pinterest.

With the rise of Christianity in Egypt, the tradition continued and made it through to the Islamic age, where it gradually changed to its modern form; the one that we all know and love.

Throughout the rule of the different Islamic dynasties, kahk was one of the most impactful traditions that contributed to the country’s identity. The Toulunids made it into small, rolled packets called ‘kul wushkur‘, which meant ‘eat and say thank you’.

While in the time of the Ikhshidites, it became associated with Eid Al-Fitr and the celebration of the ending of the holy month of Ramadan.

In 1124 A.D., the Fatimid Caliphate in Egypt dedicated 20,000 dinars for baking kahk for Eid Al-Fitr, and according to some historical accounts, the Caliph used to distribute the kahk himself.

There are other accounts of the Fatimid Caliph Al-Aziz’s feasting table used to be 1350 meters long, with many different varieties of kahk, and it was in this time that the very first bakery was established for the sole purpose of making kahk each Eid; it was called Dar Al-Fitra and made kahk the size of loaves of bread.

Nowadays, kahk has not changed; it is still one of the most beloved traditions of Eid Al-Fitr that cannot be found anywhere outside Egypt. So each time you take a bite of that kahka, remember that this is the taste thousands of years of history.

WE SAID THIS: Love kahk? Make sure to check out: The Only Kahk Guide You’ll Need This Eid.