Muslims acknowledge the birth of Jesus, and consider him one of God's beloved and holy messengers. Celebrating Christmas, however, is not the norm for us.
But even so, there are some elements of Christmas that warm hearts the world over, and make us anticipate December more than any other month of the year. The twinkling lights on a beautifully decorated tree; the cheery songs blaring out of speakers in all shopping centres, big and small; the sharp freshness of a peppermint candy cane; and above all, the food, the glorious food.
I stumbled across the most delicious of cookies, and to me, they embody Christmas in every bite. Crisp, thin, spiced and so fragrant, laced with a hint of orange peel, they sit atop my kitchen counter in a glass jar, the perfect accompaniment to a hot cup of tea, the perfect snack to munch on while cuddled on the couch watching a Christmas movie (usually,
, my favourite).
I found them in the most unlikely of places: Ikea! Sitting unobtrusively among the Scandinavian fare that greets you as soon as you are finished paying for your purchases, their name gives no indication of the party that occurs in your mouth as soon as you bite into one. They are the
; their packaging is strangely plain and unattractive, but don't be deterred by that. They are apparently a traditional Swedish ginger Christmas cookie, and they just might be my new favourite thing.
They're not light; three of the addictive cookies are 140 calories, five grams of fat and 21 grams of carbohydrates. Still, some things are just worth the extra calories.
Here's a fun fact: Swedish custom says that you should place a Pepparkakor in the palm of your hand. Then, make a wish. Using the index finger or thumb of your free hand, tap the cookie in the middle. Swedish tradition states that if the Pepparkakor breaks into three pieces, your wish will come true. If the Pepparkakor does not break into three pieces, well, you'll just have to enjoy eating the cookie in smaller pieces.