Aşure came about to celebrate the Day of Asure (Aşure Günü) (Ashura), which is the 10th day of Muharrem in the Islamic calender, Ashura meaning 10th in Arabic. Find out more about Muharrem and the Rice Party.
We are all familiar with the story of Noah and his ark, that God order him to build an Ark to save Noah and his family along with the animals. When the floods receded it is thought the Ark came to rest on Mount Ararat in the north east of Turkey. Even though they had been saved and the floods had gone, they still needed to eat to survive. Their food supplies were low and Noah order that what was left was cooked together, forming what is now know as Aşure.
“The Prophet Noah called his people to the religion of God for nine hundred and fifty years. When his people insisted on unbelief and persisted in their wrongdoings, God ordered him to build an ark. After completing the construction of the ark, Noah embarked in it, upon God’s command, and of each kind – a male and a female, his family, except those who are against the Word had already gone forth, – and the believers.” (Qur’an 11:40)
Ağrı Dağı or Mount Ararat sits in the Eastern Anatolian region of Turkey, between Doğubayazıt and Iğdır. Over the past few years more evidence has come to light that Noah’s Ark did come to rest on Mount Ararat including the picture below of what is though to be the Ark, yet no one has been able to find the Ark on the Mountain side. For more on the theory go to National Geographical.
Aşure is made in large quantities and shared among, friends, family and neighbours and if you live in the Turkish Community do not be surprised if you receive a dish or two during this time. It is less to do with religion and more to do with spreading peace and love to the community. Don’t worry you don’t have to return a dish but why not try and make the dish yourself to give to your neighbours. Try my recipe over at Turkish Cooking.
Aşure, does not just celebrate the receding of the floods during Noah’s time, it is also an important day in the Islamic Calender. It is the day that Muslims honor the Prophet Moses and is celebrated by all Muslims. It is seen as a day of mourning byt the Shia Muslims as this was the day that Husyn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad was martyred at the Battle of Karbala.
Sunni Muslism also refere to the day as The Day of Atonement, it is said to be the day that Israelites were freed from Egypt. Mihammed came to Medina and asked, “What is this?” They said, “This is a good day, this is the day when Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemy and Musa (Moses) fasted on this day.” So he fasted on this day and told the people to fast. (taken from wikipedia)
In Turkey originally the day was celebrated by the Alevis where the dish was made after days of fasting and they abstained from meat. The Balkan Sufis of Turkey prepare the AşurePudding with special prayers for health, well being and spiritual nourishment.
You will also hear special prayers in the Mosques on this day and many Muslims will also offer prayers and spend time reading the Koran.
I enjoy this day as neighbours and friends share their puddings around you get a feeling of community and friendship.