Decorating gingerbread houses is one of the most beloved traditions of Christmas. Kids love decorating gingerbread houses – and that includes Muslim kids too. For some Muslim moms, decorating gingerbread houses in December is no big deal; their kids happily get to have this part of Christmas (which helps soothe some of the resentment kids feel about not having a tree or getting presents). Some Muslim moms fully celebrate Christmas with their families (whether secularly or with Christian family members) and the tradition of making gingerbread houses is heartily embraced. But for other Muslim moms, making gingerbread houses is out of the question because they don’t want their kids taking part in Christmas traditions at home.
Well now for American Muslim moms, there are gingerbread mosque kits.
Gingerbread mosque kits are available during Ramadan and the days of Hajj. The great thing about gingerbread mosque kits is that they provide a fun activity for the kids. Decorating cookies is not exclusively a Christmas tradition – it’s an activity for any American holiday or birthday party. The interesting thing though is that the mosques are made out of gingerbread, a cookie flavour associated with Christmas since the 16th century. Because of this, Muslim moms are divided about gingerbread mosques kits.
So we talked to Farah Firman, owner of Secubit Bakery and the creator of America’s original gingerbread masjid kits to learn about how the gingerbread mosque came about. Farah first launched the gingerbread mosque kits in Ramadan 2015 and since their launch, the kits have been very popular!
Hello Holy Days: “Why did you want to start selling gingerbread mosque kits?”
Secubit Bakery: “Well, it just so happened that I got laid off June 2015. So, that summer, I was given an opportunity to take my hobby to the next level. With lots of support and encouragement from my family, I finally decided to put myself out there. Originally I was going for sugar cookies. No specific shape or theme. I just liked the idea of being able to provide a service where people can decorate their own sugar cookies. But, this has been done before. Realizing that Ramadan was around the corner, I was inspired to create something that was related to the festive season. That’s how the Masjid kit came about.
The Masjid kit gave me the ability to combine my degree in graphic design, my love of baking, and my joy of creating miniature things all into one project. I first discovered this joy of creating products for others to personalize and enjoy through my work at Hallmark Cards.
This product was just a pinch of what I thought I could contribute to the Muslim community.”
Hello Holy Days: “What was your relationship with gingerbread houses at Christmas growing up in America?”
Secubit Bakery: “I have maybe bought 2 gingerbread house kits in my life during after-Christmas sales, just for fun. But I never really enjoyed the taste. But I have always admired the amazing creations that you can make with gingerbread.”
Hello Holy Days: “Why do you feel gingerbread works even in summer months?”
Secubit Bakery: “To be honest, I never really thought about the relationship between gingerbread and the season. I chose gingerbread as the base for the Masjid kit simply because I needed it to be able to ship without much breakage. I knew that gingerbread is well known for sturdiness and longer shelf life. Plus, it tastes a lot better when it’s homemade, and it’s a little bit more forgiving when you have to put icing and candies on top of it.”
Hello Holy Days: “How do you feel about coming up with a cookie flavour in the future that’s more rooted in Muslim cultures? Or do you feel a different cookie flavour would take away from what you’re trying to accomplish?”
Secubit Bakery: “I have definitely thought about creating other flavors. In fact, I have baked a couple of others for trial and created other kits. But, with a day job, and still being new to this online baking business, I decided to improve my gingerbread Masjid kits further before adding new products. Changing or adding other flavors won’t take away from what I want to accomplish because my focus is on providing festive activities for our Islamic holidays, not on a particular cookie or product.”
We’re excited to see what Farah has planned for the future! Follow @secubitbakery on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on their products. And tell us in the comments below – what’s your opinion on gingerbread mosques?