The Muslim community in Bulgaria’s second city Plovdiv shared out ashure, a traditional Turkish dessert popular in several Balkan countries, in celebration of the month of Muharram.
The 10th day of Muharram, the first month of the year, is the Day of Ashure (which means 10th in Arabic) and commemorates the end of the Great Flood. In English, ashure is also known as Noah’s Pudding, in reference to the landing of Noah’s Ark.
The Regional Mufti of Plovdiv, Taner Veli, said that the holiday brings together Muslims, Christians and Jews, as it reflects the scriptural story common to all three of these religions.
Traditionally, the ashure is shared with all loved ones, relatives, friends and strangers. The dish is a colourful mixture of grains, fruit, dried fruit and nuts, and it symbolises that people can live together in spite of their differences.
The Day of Ashure celebration was held on October 6 at noon in front of Plovdiv’s landmark Dzhumaya Mosque, which dates to the 14th century.
Ahmed Phehlivan of the Zaedno (“Together”) Foundation was reported as saying by news website podtepeto.com that “in Plovdiv we must live together without worrying about our religious differences”.
He said that during the Night of Museums and Galleries, held in Plovdiv in September, when the mosque was open to visitors throughout the days of the event, the flow of visitors was non-stop.
Everyone enjoyed the beautiful historic building and so the Muslim community could help to develop Plovdiv as a cultural capital, he said. In 2019, Plovdiv will be European Capital of Culture.
The report said that dozens of Plovdiv people took advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the dish as a treat on the religious holiday, which in many places in Bulgaria is celebrated together by all religions.