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Dhigu Baipen: A Tradition of Togetherness


In the picturesque island of Haa Alif Baarah, a unique porridge known as “Dhigu Baipen” has become a cherished culinary tradition. This special dish was introduced to the community by a talented cook named Male Hassanu, who returned to Baarah after working in the Palace in Male’. Today, the residents of Baarah continue to honor his legacy by coming together to prepare and share this traditional porridge. Ali Ahmed, a proud member of the community, shares the heartwarming story of Dhigu Baipen and the spirit of unity it embodies.

Preserving a Legacy

Dhigu Baipen holds a special place in the hearts and stomachs of the people of Baarah. Under the guidance of Male Hassanu, the residents learned the intricacies of the recipe and the importance of using the right ingredients. Although Male Hassanu is no longer with them, his memory lives on through the continuation of his recipe. Ali Ahmed fondly recalls being present during the teaching sessions, witnessing the artistry of Male Hassanu’s cooking technique and gaining invaluable knowledge.

Community Collaboration

The preparation of Dhigu Baipen is a communal affair that brings the entire island together. On the first day of Ramadan, all the residents gather to embark on the collective culinary journey. Each person contributes their skills and expertise, whether it’s cutting and cleaning the ingredients or meticulously sorting through the assortment of leafy greens. Women play a crucial role by scraping coconuts and preparing two types of coconut milk – light and thick – which lend a creamy and rich flavor to the porridge.

A Labor of Love

The process begins in the morning, with a goal to finish cleaning and cutting the leaves by noon, allowing time for afternoon prayers. Some individuals are entrusted with the task of cutting fish, an essential ingredient for the porridge. As the afternoon prayers conclude, the island is filled with the tantalizing aroma of spices and herbs as the cooking process begins. A large pot is heated, and the meticulously prepared ingredients are combined, infusing the porridge with a medley of flavors.

Ramadan Tradition

During the holy month of Ramadan, Dhigu Baipen holds a special significance. It cannot be consumed before breaking the fast but is eagerly anticipated by the community as the sun sets. People from all houses, as well as neighboring islands, gather to partake in this nourishing delight. The porridge is distributed until the last prayer of the day, Isha, marking the end of the distribution.

Preserving Heritage, Celebrating Unity

Dhigu Baipen not only nourishes the body but also strengthens the bonds of community and honors the island’s heritage. It serves as a reminder of the importance of collaboration, resilience, and the preservation of traditions. This cherished culinary practice brings generations together, fostering a sense of togetherness and unity.

In conclusion, Dhigu Baipen stands as a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Haa Alif Baarah. The shared experience of preparing and enjoying this traditional porridge exemplifies the spirit of community and the essence of Ramadan. As the island continues to pass down this culinary tradition, it serves as a reminder of the power of food to bring people closer and create lasting memories.

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