Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class — Holidays in Egypt Series at ArabicPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Egyptian holidays and observances. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Lesson 16, Day of Ashura. In Egyptian Arabic, it’s called [ عاشوراء (ʿāšūrā)].

In this lesson, we are going to learn about a religious event celebrated by Muslims in Egypt, the Day of Ashura or [عاشوراء (ʿāšūrā)], which literally indicates the tenth day of the month. That’s because it occurs on the 10th day of the Lunar calendar month called "Muharram."
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question—
Do you know what kind of contest is held between Egyptian households on the Day of Ashura?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Ashura Day is considered important because it is the day that witnessed the martyrdom of Hussein, the grandson of prophet Muhammad. Also, on this day, it’s said God saved Moses from the Pharaoh of Egypt, who wanted to kill him. For this reason, too, it’s an important celebration for Egyptians.
Muslims perform fasting, or [الصوم (el-ṣoom)], on Ashura Day to follow the steps of the prophet Muhammad and because fasting atones for the sins, or [خطيئة (ḫaṭīʾah)], of the previous year. Muslims don't only fast on Ashura Day, but they also fast on the day before, according to the direction of the prophet Muhammad.
Like all Islamic occasions, Muslims become keen to see each other on this day in order to congratulate one another and to maintain good family ties. Acts of charity, or [عمل خيري (ʿamal ḫayrī)], and devotion are also abundant on this day. Christians also share in the celebration with Muslims by exchanging dessert plates. Thus, the occasion turns from a religious one into a social one.
One of the most famous things done by Egyptians on this day is cooking a dish called Ashura pudding, or [عاشورا (ʿāšūrā)], which is named after Ashura Day. This dish consists of wheat, starch, milk, and nuts. They mix these ingredients together and stir them over a fire. Everyone, adults and children, love this delicious dish.
And now I'll give you the answer to the earlier quiz.
Do you know what kind of contest is held between Egyptian households on the Day of Ashura?
Families compete to cook the best Ashura pudding. There is an Egyptian tradition, by which people exchange Ashura puddings and taste them to decide who cooked the best one that year.
So listeners, how was this lesson? Is there any dish similar to Ashura pudding in your culture? Let us know in the comments and we’ll see you next time! Bye! إلى اللقاء (ʾilā al-liqaāʾ)!