Foods Eaten at Festivals or Celebrations
ne important holiday in the Middle East is the Jewish New Year called Rosh Hashanah. It is a time for celebration and also a time for learning more about yourself and repenting. Round Challah is a sweet, braided bread eaten on Sabbaths and holidays. On Rosh Hashanah the braided bread is formed into a circle representing the circle of life. During this holiday, eating sweet foods is seen as an omen for the sweetness of the following year, which is why honey is an important food. The Round Challah can be eaten with salt, or dipped in honey. Apples are the quintessential Rosh Hashanah symbol. At the start of the Rosh Hashanah meals, a plate of apples and honey is passed around and before eating the apple, a person says a prayer asking God for a 'sweet' year. Apples are usually eaten on the first day of the celebration and on the second day, a more seasonal fruit is eaten. Pomegranates are another fruit that is commonly eaten. The pomegranate is said to have 613 seeds, the same number of commandments in the Jewish bible. Fish heads are eaten as a symbol of abundance and fertility and they represent the head of the new year. There are also Middle Eastern holidays in which food is prohibited. Eid al-Fitr is a 3 day holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, it is a time of fasting and to thank Allah. Ramadan is a Islam holiday in which food and water is prohibited throughout the day but from sunset to sunrise, people are allowed to eat and drink.

Foods Eaten in Common, Everyday Households

~Štruggles of the people of a country can greatly affect the food they eat. Also the many different types of people in different countries can impact the daily cuisine too. The foods of the Middle East include a range of cooking styles from many other countries. Many roots of Middle Eastern food can be traced to Israel. There are many different types of cuisine from the many different types of people that lived/are living in the Middle East like Bedouin, Druze, Samaritans, and Circassian cooking. Middle Eastern food is very healthy. Some common foods include pita bread, chickpeas, beans, lemon, cumin, yogurt, lentils, hummus, falafel, (which is similar to hummus) olives and eggplant. Lamb is a more common source of meat than beef or pork since pork is prohibited in the Quran.

Why are certain foods important to a certain regions or cultures?

he foods of a certain region can characterize the culture of that region. Food can also display the beliefs of certain regions. In the Islam religion, pork is forbidden to eat. That shows in their food because they substitute lamb in for their meat source. Alcohol is forbidden in the Quran also so Muslims never cook their foods in alcohol. Food can show how the people lived in different countries also; it can show the struggles they had to overcome. Bedouins lived mainly in deserts and they had to adapt so they could survive. They have to use what they have to eat and with that being limited, it can reflect in the cuisine they have now.

→Here are some recipes of the Middle East←


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1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
  • 1 pound chopped nuts
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup honey


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F(175 degrees C). Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9x13 inch pan.
  2. Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon. Set aside. Unroll phyllo dough. Cut whole stack in half to fit pan. Cover phyllo with a dampened cloth to keep from drying out as you work. Place two sheets of dough in pan, butter thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered. Sprinkle 2 - 3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go. The top layer should be about 6 - 8 sheets deep.
  3. Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. You may cut into 4 long rows the make diagonal cuts. Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.
  4. Make sauce while baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add vanilla and honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Let cool. Serve in cupcake papers. This freezes well. Leave it uncovered as it gets soggy if it is wrapped up



Prep Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 16 oz can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup liquid from can of chickpeas
  • 3-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from can. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from chickpeas. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth.

Place in serving bowl, and create a shallow well in the center of the hummus.

Add a small amount (1-2 tablespoons) of olive oil in the well. Garnish with parsley (optional).

Serve immediately with pita bread that is fresh, warm or toasted


*by Keely Larson*