When my children got engaged and we met the families of my children’s betrothed for the first time I held a malida ceremony. We hold the malida ceremony to mark new beginnings and ask the prophet, Elijah, to protect us on our new path, but for me it was also a way to introduce new family members to our food and customs. I also hold malida ceremonies in honor of significant events, for example when sealing an agreement, or when a relative enlists or is released from the army, but some families also hold it at less dramatic events, like during the seventh month of pregnancy (to make sure the ceremony happens before the birth), or on the 41st day after the birth of a son or the 81st day after the birth of a daughter (then the girl is considered pure), when starting a new job and even on Saturday night, before a new week begins. It is always good to have protection from Elijah.
I like to serve the malida with dates, banana, melon or watermelon, and then according to what fruit is in season, but you can make malida with any fruit you like, as long as there is at least one fruit which is blessed by the “Creator of the Fruit of the Earth” and one which is blessed by the “Creator of the Fruit of the Tree”. When we hold the ceremony, the women prepare the malida and the men conduct the ceremony and bestow the blessings, and the celebrant lights the candle and lifts the tray during the blessings.
Ingredients for Malida
- 5 cups (250 grams) crisped rice cereal like rice crispies
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- ½ cup Ground coconut
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 cup pistachio nuts roasted and chopped
- 1 cup sliced (slivered) blanched almonds
- ½ cup raisins
- 5 seasonal fruit of various types
1. Place crisped rice in a sieve and shake gently to remove the powder from them. Transfer to a large bowl. Add water in as thin a stream as possible while stirring, just until moist and slightly sticky, but not soft (you may not need all the water).
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix gently, until the rice cereal is coated with sugar, coconut and cardamom. Pile in a tray and arrange fruits around.