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Three Delicious Recipes to Celebrate Eid al-Fitr!

It’s the final day of Ramadan. Ramadan Kareem! And tomorrow is a delicious celebration of Eid al-Fitr. If you’re looking for some last minute recipes to sweeten up your Eid al-Fitr meal, or you want to try something new and scrumptious for your next celebration, there are some easy, mouthwatering recipes below.

Start your celebration with a refreshing drink that’s family friendly, and that will definitely leave your family and friends asking for another pitcher. Here’s our recipe for Mint Lemonade (or Lime-ade).

You’ll need:

3 Cups of Sugar

1 2/3 Cups of fresh lemons (or limes) quartered and de-seeded, but leave the skin on

1/8 Cup of fresh mint leaves

4 ¼ Cups of Water

Ice cubes to serve

Add the water and sugar to your food processor, process on high until the sugar is dissolved completely. Then add the mint and lemons – almost whole. Pulse until everything is chopped as small as possible and the flavors are infused into the liquid. Strain the liquid well, and chill. Serve over ice.

For the next recipe, you can really get creative. Mahshi is a great favorite across the Middle Eastern world, especially in Egypt. These will take a little time, but your friends and family are going to love the succulent vegetables stuffed with rice and herbs; you can even add your favorite meat to the mix to make them heartier. You can mix and match your favorite veggies for stuffing, and play with the spice profile, but the recipe below is traditional Egyptian version of Mahshi.

You’ll need:

1 Cup white, short grain rice

1 Large onion, diced

1 Large onion cut into thick rings

½ Cup of tomato sauce

A half-bunch of parsley, cilantro, and dill (you don’t have to use all of these, and can substitute your favorite herbs here)

½ Cup chicken or vegetable broth

1 ½ teaspoons of olive oil

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon of allspice

Salt and pepper to taste

A serving of any of these vegetables: 8 zucchini (particularly short, fat ones); 8 eggplants (again look for small, finger length ones); 20 cabbage leaves (parboiled and with the middle rib removed); OR 20 grape leaves, parboiled

Start by sautéing the diced onions (NOT the onion rings) in oil until they’re wilted. Combine the pepper, salt, tomato sauce, cinnamon, and allspice. Simmer for three minutes. While the onion mixture is simmering, rinse the rice, finely chop the herbs, and add the rice and herbs to the onion and tomato sauce mixture.

Core the vegetables (or prepare the leaves for stuffing); when coring be careful to keep them as whole as possible. When you’re using eggplant, make sure to put it in a bowl of water after coring, but before you get to stuffing it.

Carefully stuff your vegetables with the rice mixture, but leave the top ½ an inch empty because the rice will grow as you steam it.

Add a ½ teaspoon of oil to a non-stick pot, cover the bottom with your onion slices – these will make a tasty barrier so your vegetables steam without touching the bottom. Place your veggies on top so that they’re standing up (and your rice stuffing doesn’t escape). Add ½ Cup of broth, and simmer on low until the rice is tender (usually about 15-20 minutes, but be patient and check each one for doneness). When they’re done, serve the stuffed mahshi and discard the onion slices.

And finally, a recipe that tops off the celebration with something sweet, of course. Your whole crew is going to love this decadent treat that looks a lot more complicated than it is. Impress them this Eid al-Fitr with a luscious Kunafa.

You’ll need:

1 Cup of water

1 Cup of sugar

1 can of sweetened, condensed milk

2 Cups of heavy cream

7 Tablespoons of powdered sugar

1 Cup of butter

1 package Kunafa Dough

First, boil the water and add the sugar. Dissolve the sugar thoroughly and boil for 3 – 4 minutes, until you have a simple syrup. Turn off the heat and set it aside. Whip the cream until it’s foamy, and set it aside as well. In a big mixing bowl, start working with the kunafa dough by pulling it gently apart. Slowly add melted butter and pull the strands apart, moistening them. Sprinkle the dough with the rest of the powdered sugar, mix thoroughly, then separate the dough into two halves.

Press the first half into an oven tray, press it into the edges, and pour the foamy cream over it evenly. Press the second dough half on the top, and flatten it gently. Bake this in the oven at 360 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes, or until it’s golden brown on top. Pour the sweetened, condensed milk over it, then add the sugar syrup. Cut whatever sized chunk you want and serve while it’s warm, creamy and delicious!

Images

Lemonade: Rob Bertholf

Mahshi: Gozamos

Kunafa: stu_spivack

10 Interesting Wedding Traditions Around The World

Wedding traditions aren’t just about exchanging vows and rings. There are so many non trivial ways to say “I do.” From the well-known bride tossing her wedding bouquet, the couple’s first dance and the cutting of the cake, to wearing something old, new, borrowed and blue, American wedding customs became very popular around the world. But other countries too have their own beloved wedding customs. Some of them are heartwarmingly romantic, some are a little weird, and some might even make you uncomfortable. But what binds these disparate traditions from near and far is one simple thing: love!

1. China: Stars, Colors & Chicken Liver

In Chinese tradition, a middleman was used to cement a lengthy engagement. Once a man found a woman he wanted to marry, the go-between person would present gifts to the girl’s parents and consult an astrology expert to check the auspicious nature of the match. Modern Chinese wedding ceremonies also place a heavy importance on auspicious dates. It’s common to ask fortune tellers consult Chinese almanacs and analyze the prospective union.

A traditional Chinese wedding features a full procession, with the bride escorted to the ceremony in a covered sedan chair. Red is the main color in Chinese weddings, symbolizing love, good luck and courage. For centuries, Chinese brides wore the traditional qipao, a long bright-red silk dress with intricate gold embroidery, that covered her whole body, revealing only the head, hands and toes. According to an old tradition, the bride wears a red veil to hide her face, and her mother or attendant holds a red umbrella over her head to encourage fertility in the new family. Throughout the ceremony the bride changes gowns several times to demonstrate the opulence of her family.

In Daur region in China, there is quite a disturbing tradition that requires future husband and wife to dissect a chicken and check out its liver: if the liver is healthy, the couple can set a date for the wedding. If not, they should hold off on the marriage until they find one that will tell them otherwise.

2. Japan: Lady in White

Japanese ceremonies were traditionally held in Shinto Shrines. The bride’s skin is painted pure white from head to toe, she wears a white kimono and a big white hood hiding the “horns of jealousy” for her mother-in-law and signifying the desire to become an obedient wife. Throughout the ceremony a bride wears several costumes, first changing into another kimono in red and then into a Western-style dress. To symbolize their union, the couple drinks sake together, becoming husband and wife the moment they take the first sip.

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3. Korea: It All Starts With a Duck

While in Fiji a groom must present his future father-in-law a whale’s tooth, in Korea a man gives their mother-in-law wild geese or ducks. The monogamous animals represent a man’s pure intentions and loyalty to his bride. Nowadays, brides and grooms exchange wooden geese and ducks on their wedding day instead as a symbol of their commitment.

4. India: Forget Jewelry

Indian weddings are surrounded by numerous rituals and ceremonies. A popular pre-wedding tradition includes a special engagement ceremony during which bride and groom exchange rings and their families exchange gifts and sweets. The ceremony is usually held at the bride’s home and is followed by decorating the bride’s body with henna art. As part of the visually stunning traditional Indian wedding, bride’s palms, wrists, arms, legs, and feet are painted, in tattoo fashion, with intricate henna designs to represent the joy, hope, and love of the occasion. The elaborate skin art takes hours to make and it lasts about two weeks making additional accessories totally unnecessary.

5. Malaysia: All About Numbers

There’s a Malaysian tradition of exchanging wedding gifts between the bride and groom-to-be. The number of gifts is very important – it must be a minimum of 7 or more gifts of an odd number. The minimum of 7 gifts for the betrothed bride generally includes a diamond or gold ring, brand new outfit, pair of shoes, handbag, traditional shawl or scarf, special container of aromatic and symbolic betel leaves, fruits or food gifts.
The Malaysian wedding ceremony also incorporates some Hindu traditions including painting hands with henna. At the ceremony, each guest receives an artistically decorated hard-boiled egg to symbolize fertility. And before the wedding a groom might send his future bride child-bearing presents, such as trays of food with origami flowers and cranes made from currency bills.

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6. Fiji: Toothy Treasure

In Fiji, a man have to find an unusual gift if he wants to propose to the beloved one. Before asking for the hand of the woman he is in love with, the groom must present his future father-in-law a whale’s tooth.

7. Jamaica: Everyone’s a Critic

Jamaican weddings are a community affair, with the entire village often coming together to help plan the big day. Before the ceremony villagers line up in the street to take a look at the bride and call out negative comments and publicly criticize her if her appearance isn’t in tip-top shape. If the majority is critical, the bride must go home and make a second try at looking her best.

8. Mauritius: Go Large or Go Home

Many brides-to-be around the world go on a strict diet to lose weight before the big day. Not so in Mauritius, where young women are often forced to gain some weight before their wedding, sometimes causing them many health problems later in life. In Mauritania, a large, full-bodied wife is said to signify good luck and prosperity in marriage.

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9. Kenya: Some Spitting Allowed

How would you like to be all dressed up in your wedding finery and have your dad spit on you?  In Kenya, as the newlyweds leave the ceremony, the father of the bride spits on his daughter’s head and chest in order not to jinx the good fortune of the married couple.

10. Venezuela: Missing In Action

Don’t wait until the wedding reception’s end to chat up a Venezuelan bride and groom — they could be long gone. It’s good luck for the newlyweds to sneak away before the party’s over without getting caught; it’s also good luck for whichever guests catches on that they’re gone.

Father’s Day History & Facts

We all know that Father’s Day is observed on the third Sunday in June in many countries around the world. We know it’s a perfect occasion to honor fathers, husbands and father figures but is there anything more to the holiday? What do we ACTUALLY know about this wonderful day honoring the most important men in our lives?

Happy-Fathers-Day-Quotes-Images-9

Father’s Day History Facts:

  • The person who invented the concept of Father’s Day is Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd from Spokane, Washington whose mom died in childbirth and her father had raised his six children all by himself. Dodd was at a church service thinking about how grateful she was for her father when she came up with an idea of celebrating Father’s Day, which would be similar to Mother’s Day but celebrated in June – her dad’s birthday month.
  • Originally Dodd named the holiday Fathers’ Day (in plural possessive form), because it was “a day belonging to all fathers.” Somewhere along the way, the punctuation was changed and the holiday is now known as “Father’s Day” (in singular possessive form).
  • Father’s Day is the fourth biggest day for sending greeting cards, after Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. Greeting cards make up the number one gift item for fathers on this day.
  • More than one third of Father’s Day cards are funny in nature.
  • Rose is the official flower for Father’s Day. Wearing a red rose on your clothes signifies a living father, while white one represents deceased father.
  • One of the most common Father’s Day gifts associated with the holiday comprises of a necktie, followed by flowers.
  • Female shoppers spend approximately 50% more than men on gifts for their dad.

 

Father’s Day in numbers:

  • The first Father’s Day celebration was on June 19, 1910 in Spokane, Washington.
  • It wasn’t until 1972 that Father’s Day became an official national holiday in U.S. when president Nixon signed it into law.
  • Now Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in June in over 50 countries around the world.
  • There are over 70.1 million dads in the U.S. About a third of them are married with kids under 18.
  • More than 214,000 American men are stay-at-home dads.
  • 2 million fathers are single.
  • The world’s oldest father is an Indian former wrestler and farmer Ramjit Raghav who has been claimed to have his first child with his wife at age 94.
  • The world’s youngest father is an 11-year-old boy from Auckland, New Zealand, who has had a child with the 36-year-old mother of his school friend.
  • The most prolific father of all time is the last Sharifian Emperor of Morocco, Mulai Ismail (1646-1727). In 1703 he had at least 342 daughters and 525 sons and by 1721 he was reputed to have 700 male descendents.

homemade card

Unusual Father’s Day Celebration Around the world:

  • In Thailand Father’s Day is celebrated on the same day as the birthday of the King, beloved by all Thai people. Thais celebrate the holiday by giving their father or grandfather a Canna flower, which is considered to be a masculine flower in Thailand. There is also a tradition of wearing yellow on this day (the official color of King’s birthday).
  • Father’s day in Argentina is celebrated on the third Sunday of June. However there have been many unsuccessful attempts to change the date to August 24th when the first child of Jose de San Martin, the “Father of the Nation”, was born.
  • In Denmark Father’s Day is celebrated on June 5th. It coincides with Constitution Day, which is a public holiday celebrating the signing of the Danish constitution of 1849.
  • Father’s Day in Germany also referred to as “Gentlemen’s day” is annually celebrated on Ascension Day which is the Thursday forty days after Easter. Traditionally, men celebrate it together by drinking lots of alcohol and pulling a wagon around town.

 

To learn more about Father’s Day and other holidays
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GiftBasketsOverseas.com Founder Message

Want to have a better idea how Gift Baskets Overseas provides exceptionally fast and reliable gift delivery service anywhere in the world? The company’s Founder and Chief Gift Officer takes us behind the scenes of the business and explains the service benefits for corporate and personal gift senders in 200 countries Worldwide.

For more information or to place an order
please visit our website www.GiftBasketsOverseas.com

Mother’s Day Facts You Didn’t Know

Moms are the embodiment of eternal love and devotion. As inherently selfless creatures, you know that they deserve a day all to themselves, one that celebrates everything that they stand for. Mother’s Day annually observed in many countries around the world on the 2nd Sunday in May is a perfect day to celebrate your mother!

Mother's Day Facts
While mom is a good enough reason to celebrate Mother’s Day, there are a lot of things worth knowing about this happy spring holiday. This year, impress your mom with more than just a bouquet of flowers and a heartfelt Mother’s Day gift… tell her one of these interesting facts that she probably didn’t even know.

Mothering Sunday

While the modern  Mother’s Day didn’t evolve until years later in the beginning of the 20th century, the holiday has its roots in the Christian celebration of “Mothering Sunday.” In the UK and parts of Europe, Mothering Sunday fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent, where parishioners would return to their “mother” church.

First Mother’s Day Celebration

Since the dawn of time we have been thankful for our mothers, but it took persistent activists to really get the holiday on the nationally recognized level. After the death of her mother in 1908, Anna Jarvis, an activist and founder of Mother’s Day as we know her today, sought to host a celebration to thank all mothers for all they do. She held the first Mother’s Day celebration in a Methodist Church in West Virginia.

Why The Date Changes

After Jarvis successfully held her first Mother’s Day, she sought out to make it a national celebration. After years of lobbying, she finally got the attention of President Woodrow Wilson in 1914. He proclaimed that the second Sunday in May, no matter what the date, would belong to moms across the nation.

Misc Mother’s Day Facts

  • Anna Jarvis, the founder of the modern concept of Mother’s Day, remained unmarried and childless throughout her entire life.
  • According to National Retail Federation on average people spend $168.94 on gifts for Mother’s Day
  • Over 130 million Mother’s Day cards are exchanged annually making it the third-largest card-sending holiday in the U.S.
  • There are around 2 billion mothers in the world
  • Each second there are 4 babies born in the world

  Mother’s Day Facts You Didn’t Know
Mommy Records

Mom with Most Kids: Russian Mrs. Vassilyev gave birth to 69 children between 1725 and 1765

Oldest Mom: Italian Rosanna Dalla Corte gave birth to a baby boy when she was 63 years in 1994

Heaviest Newborn: Italian Carmelina Fedele gave birth to a 22 lb 8 oz boy in 1955

Misc Mommy & Baby Facts

Most popular birth month: July

Baby Gender Gap: 105 boys born for every 100 girls

Most popular birth day: Tuesday

30 Pounds: Average weight gain during pregnancy

Most popular birthday: October 5

Make Mom Smile On Mother’s Day

     

Mother’s Day is a great time use some of that good advice Mom gave you growing up. Like planning ahead! This year, impress her by ordering early and letting her know she has a sweet surprise coming her way. Take your time to choose the perfect Mother’s Day gift just for her. From soothing spa baskets to wash away her stress, gourmet gift hampers with world’s most famous wine that will go perfectly with her favorite meal, to decadent chocolates, beautiful bouquets of her favorite spring flowers or whatever she likes, you’re sure to find it with us for worldwide delivery!

Order early with code GBOMOM16 and you’ll SAVE $10 on your gifts until April 25, 2016.

As an additional bonus: If you buy gifts marked with a pink ribbon from now until May 8, 2016, we’ll donate 10% of the retail price to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.

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Share Your Good Fortune This Passover

Passover is only few days away; it will last from April 22nd – April 30th. Spend this week showing your love and appreciation for the important people in your life. Brighten your friends’ homes with beautiful flowers, send fresh fruits to your siblings, mouthwatering kosher baskets for family and help your loved ones relax with an indulgent spa gift.  If you’re not sure what to send, our gift experts are standing by 24/7 to help you pick out the perfect basket.

Order your gift for Passover now and make sure it arrives just when you want it to. Use code GBPSVR16 to save 10% on all your gifts until April 30, 2016.

What is Passover?

Passover is a festival of freedom which commemorates the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt.

Jews all over the world celebrate Passover for seven days and, while the date varies from year to year, it’s always the same on the Jewish lunar calendar: the 15th day of Nissan, the first month of the Hebrew monthly calendar year, typically falling in mid-spring.

The main ritual of Passover is the Seder — a festive meal with family which occurs on the first night of the holiday. During the Seder a number of symbolic foods are served including wine, matzah bread, and other all kosher dishes.

Mother’s Day Gifts Against Breast Cancer

Gifts Against Breast Cancer by GiftBasketsOverseas.com with National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.

 

GiftBasketsOverseas.com is joining National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. (NBCF) in providing help and inspiring hope to those affected by breast cancer through early detection, education, and support services. For each of these gifts purchased, GiftBasketsOverseas.com will donate 10% of the retail sale of the gift to NBCF for such programs as Beyond The Shock©, the National Mammography Program, and Early Detection Plan.

As many as 230,000 women & 2,350 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year; this holiday, you have the chance to make your gift twice as powerful.

This Mother’s Day, share the love with your Mom and all the women of the world: send one of the gifts from our Mother’s Day catalog!

Have you sent Easter gifts yet?

The celebration of holy love… Easter
The day of resurrection…
The day that brings us new hope…
Easter is on the way!

Easter, the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ is almost here! Make sure you’re ready for the celebration that will take place this Sunday, on March 27 with Easter gift baskets you know your children and family won’t find until you want them to! Send your warm spring wishes with mouthwatering sweets and chocolate, stunning fresh flowers, healthy fruit hampers or gourmet baskets right to their door.

With just a few clicks you can surprise the whole family or office! Order now and use code GBETR16 to save $10 on your gifts ordered before March 27, 2016.

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