The Tale of the Mawlid doll and the knight doll
*All pictures on this blog are taken from Ahram online website.
Every Muslim country celebrates the Prophet’s Mohamed Birth “Mawlid Al-Nabi” in a different way depending on the country’s traditions, culture, and historical traces. This tradition, like many, dates back to centuries ago, and as no exception, the sugar doll (Arouset El-Moulid) and the sultan on a horse – both entirely made out of sugar, and sometimes date filling.
In Egypt, the celebrations are a deeply-rooted historical tradition that dates back to the Fatimid era, and before then, celebrations involved readings of the Quran only. Back then, public spaces were decorated with colorful ornaments, tents were set as a platform to sing Sufi songs, and special Mawlid sweets were made.
The exceptional tradition of the edible Mawlid doll and the ‘sultan on a horse’ originated from the time of the Fatimid ruler El Hakim Ba’amrUllah, and historians passed a tale in which on a one specific Mawlid celebration, the ruler Ba’amrUllah, dressed up as a soldier while riding a horse and went into the town with his wife along his side. She wore a dazzling white dress with a flower crown on her head.
When candy makers saw the beauty of the ruler’s wife, they decided to include her in their depiction of Ba’amrUllah on his horse. Hereafter, they sculpted the sugar doll decorated with rich colors and three circles attached from behind.
Who knew this specific year would open an entire tradition of edible doll making. Later, depictions of the bride and groom doll were applied to different occasions, in which other dolls represented a newly married couple, or when soldiers return from war and marry beautiful brides, as a reward for their bravery.