Egypt on a Plate: Connecting Community and Inspiring Inclusivity during the month of fasting
“The setup, decorations, the staff costumes and music created a very special mood and ambience for sharing food, vibrant conversations and new friendships to bud.
The food was very delicious and, in such abundance, that I will not be hungry for a while…The Um Ali dessert was like Resistance is Useless”
This is the second time we have hosted a Ramadan Iftar celebration, but the first time to host it in Melbourne. With the city of Melbourne home to one of the most culturally diverse populations in Australia, we couldn’t think of a better place to connect people with others in their community, challenge racial stereotypes, and inspire inclusivity.
Similar to Christmas, Thanksgiving, Hanukah and other religious celebrations, Ramadan is a festive time of year. With Islamic culture often the target of bad publicity, we wanted to spread a message of Peace and Harmony – with guests able to experience first-hand what happens at a traditional Ramadan Iftar celebration.
Iftar is the meal which breaks the dawn to dusk fast observed by Muslims during Ramadan. In Melbourne, there are many Iftar celebrations throughout the city, each one celebrated with its own unique flavour. We created Egypt on a Plate event in Melbourne to transport guests to Egypt and highlight traditional Egyptian food and culture.
The celebration began at 5 pm, as the sun went down over Functions on Chapel in Prahran, in the heart of Melbourne CBD.
The Egyptian Imam (worship leader, similar to a priest) – Moustafa Hassan from Board of Imams Victoria opened Egypt on a Plate with a call to prayer. For me, this was one of the most touching moments of the night – as I heard his amazing voice I was transported to my early memories of Ramadan in Egypt. It was so wonderful to have those who follow Islam, and those who don’t, come together to be part of the celebration.
After the prayer, we had a designated room for guests who wanted to pray, while others mingled and spent time meeting new people. We then came together to stand for the Egyptian and Australian National Anthems, which was especially touching for me as it represents my connection to both of my home countries.
We were blessed to have a diverse group of people attend the event, including government officials such as the Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Inga Peulich, and The Consulate-General, Mohamed Fakhry, from the Egyptian Consulate in Melbourne
Mr Fakhry spoke about Egypt, and we played a video to showcase the beauty of the region and invite people to consider it as their next holiday destination.
We also had Reem Sweid- founder of the Muslim Collective speak about Muslim values, and the goal of their organisation to connect people with Muslims in the community and break down stereotypes and religious barriers.
I spoke briefly as someone who migrated to Australia from Egypt, and my deep connection to both countries. I shared my love for connecting people through events because events are such a powerful way to experience a culture intimately. Inevitably, this helps facilitate understanding in our community and stimulates a desire to explore the world and experience new places and people.
Throughout the evening, guests were treated to a 4-course authentic Egyptian meal, prepared by 5-star chef, Tharwat Bestawros owner of a popular Egyptian restaurant, Casa Besta in Melbourne.
We listened to the amazing sounds of the Qanan – a beautiful string instrument inspired by an old Egyptian harp played by Gem and Spice Road. After which Guests were invited to play the darbuka drums with Evy from Cleopatra’s Drum, a wonderfully talented Greek-Egyptian who also migrated to Australia at a young age.
Our popular photo booth experience also created excitement, with guests able to dress up and capture how they felt and what they experienced on the night.
The evening was emceed by 96.5 Inner FM Egyptian radio station host, Jerry Guirguis, who kept everything running smoothly. We had a special Egyptian raffle and some amazing lucky door prizes, including an original Artwork from Ray Besserdin – Australia’s Only Paper Sculpture Artist. The Raffles and lucky door prizes were a ton of fun to win and we managed to raise a nominal amount for our nominated charities on the night!
Overall, we received such amazing feedback, including many requests to host other countries “—- on a plate ” which we will be exploring in the very near future!
I want to thank everyone who attended ‘Egypt on a Plate’ for showing their commitment to diversity and for their willingness to participate in a special event experience with an aim of promoting better understanding within our communities of Ramadan as a Cultural and Spiritual Celebration.
A special thanks to El Telegraph Newspaper (an Arabic newspaper in Melbourne), that promoted and covered the festivities of Egypt on a Plate.
At End2End Events in Melbourne, we enjoy creating Special event moments that live on forever by amplifying your event message and ensuring valuable lasting connections are made. We are increasingly sought out for our expertise in uniting people from different cultures through celebration.
We welcome individuals, businesses, community leaders and City Councils to contact us about collaborating to bring their cultural event to life. Simply call us on 1300 095 123 or complete the contact form below.
And for a glimpse of the celebrations enjoyed at ‘Egypt on a Plate‘ browse through the EOaP Event Album, join our mailing list and follow us on Social Media to find out when we’ll be planning our next event experience.