Muslims around Canada are celebrating the end of Ramadan, a month-long period of fasting during daylight hours, from sunrise to sunset. Although Ramadan is a hugely important time of the year for Muslim families worldwide, many Canadians have little knowledge of its cultural traditions or significance.
But Zabiha Halal, Canada’s number one halal food brand, aims to change that through their #SharingHalal campaign which focuses on the learning and understanding that comes from sharing food together. To spread awareness and understanding of Ramadan, Muslim culture, halal food, and to bridge the gap between Muslim and non-Muslim Canadians, the brand recently brought two families together for an open and honest discussion about what it’s like to be a Muslim in Canada.
Emad and Umamah Siddiqui, a Muslim family who moved to Canada from Pakistan last year, invited Jonathan and Daniela Maleganovski Gonzalez, a non-Muslim family from Toronto, to their home for a meal.
It created an opportunity for the two families to gather around the table, share a meal, and learn more about Muslim culture leading up to Ramadan. Of course, good conversation always involves great food and the Siddiqui family prepared traditional halal dishes including dates to open fast, biryani, chicken tikkas, and Zabiha Halal Pizza and Chicken Fries (for the kids, obviously).
Both families connected over dinner and the Siddiqui’s helped provide the Maleganovski Gonzalez family with an understanding of what it’s like to be a Muslim family living in Canada.
They welcomed the opportunity to talk about Ramadan traditions and Muslim culture. “Many people don’t realize that Ramadan is a time to focus on the body, mind and spirit and realize what you need in the physical and spiritual life,” says Umamah. “While food is an important part, it’s about so much more. It’s about cleansing your body and mind, practicing self-awareness, being a good person. It’s about coming together with loved ones to pray and share all that you have to be thankful for.”
Despite their different backgrounds, the families bonded over food and felt the importance of connection and culture. “As parents of young kids, we realized that regardless of cultural differences, we all face the same struggles every day,” said the Siddiqui family.
Jonathan and Daniela said that gaining knowledge and talking to the Siddiqui family over a beautiful halal meal was enlightening. “Despite our cultural differences and background, there was so much common ground in relation to our family values and parallels between how we are raising our kids. Our main goal as people and as parents is to be good human beings and raise our kids to be the same, regardless of religion.”
The video production was led by Pakistani-Canadian film producer, Haya Waseem, whose short films have screened at TIFF, Cannes, and Berlinale. Waseem says she was engaged to “bring the meeting of these two families to life” and to highlight and celebrate their shared values over traditional Pakistani cuisine.
For the full story, check out the #SharingHalal website. The full video can be seen at SharingHalal and additional videos can be seen here. Visit Zabiha Halal to find out more about the importance of connecting over food that everyone will love.