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My Eid-ul-Fitr traditions

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Bo-Kaap resident and cooking expert gives her take on this celebration

Gamieda Jacobs, the founder of Lekka Kombuis, is a qualified tour guide, mother of three, a dedicated wife and a resident of the Bo-Kaap all her life.

Now living in Wale Street, the tourist hub of this historical city suburb, she’s been offering home-cooking experiences and traditional Cape Malay cooking classes to tourists and locals alike, for 13 years.
Jacobs speaks proudly of her family and the humble beginnings of Lekka Kombuis and what she’s
been able to accomplish since she decided to stay at home in 2006 and begin these home-cooking experiences.
“This area is the only home I know; it’s such a wonderful place. I also love what I do, I cannot imagine a job sitting behind a desk anymore”.
Eid-ul-Fitr – this coming week – is a celebration for Muslims from around the world to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadaan.
Jacobs gives us some insight into the rituals, the food and how homes, particlularly in the Cape, are traditionally prepared for this day of festivities.
Q: How do you get prepared for Eid?

A: Well, today is only the 23rd day of Ramadaan, but I have my ‘boud’ already, which is the leg of lamb. I also have my crayfish and my ‘soutvleis’, which is the corn beef. I always buy my food and everything I need in advance. I don’t like the rush in the shops just before Eid.
It’s tradition for us to make crayfish curry, it’s like a delicacy that we eat only on Eid, and I usually serve mine with white rice. I generally cook all the food; my daughters make the desserts.
Q: What are some of the rituals that take place around Eid?

A: We always listen to the Takbir (chants of Allahu akbar (God is
great), the night before. This is usually bitter-sweet because it means Ramadaan has come to an end and I always think about our loved ones no longer with us.
After breaking our final fast for the year and after listening to them a little, I’ll begin to prepare my food for tomorrow because there’s so much food to make! 
On Eid morning I usually go to mosque; by the time I get back my daughters would have normally set the breakfast table.
We try to serve lunch by 12.30 so that we can be done nice and early to have enough time to go to the neighbours and the people in the community to give Eid blessings.
After that we go and visit all our extended family to say Slamat.
We usually end up coming back home at around 10pm. It feels like Eid day is too short to see everyone.
Q: How do you prepare your home?

A: I try to do as much as I can
myself but I usually have to someone to come and help me. On Eid day, you want everything to be spotless and clean.
It must have that Eid smell. I love painting my house just before Eid day. That paint smell also reminds me of Eid although I will still have to convince my husband to paint this year.

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