Unity during Religious Holidays


Very often, our differences are emphasized, rather than our similarities. For instance, our different religions, different political views, different races, different tribes, countries, etc, more emphasis is placed on what divides us, rather than on what unites us: humanity! We are all humans and neighbors on this big planet that is called Earth. In Senegal, Christians and Muslims reinforce their unity and solidarity during the Christian holiday of Easter with the “Ngalakh” dessert. In a country that is mostly Muslim (over 95%), the people of Christian faith share Ngalakh dessert for “Good Friday” with the rest of their community. The dessert has come to symbolize unity and solidarity between Muslims and Christians in Senegal; just like during Eid al-Adha or Ramadan, Muslim families share meat and couscous with their Christian neighbors. Enjoy and learn more about ways that unite us, rather than divide us. Excerpts below are from AfricaNews.


Flag of Senegal
Flag of Senegal

… In Senegal, where approximately 4 percent of the population is Christian, the feverish preparation that started before Easter to be celebrated on 9 April continues unabated. Christian families prepare a special dessert for “Good Friday”, which represents the end of the Great Lent (Careme) fast that the Christian community keeps during the Easter period and coincides with the Friday before Easter Sunday.

Ngalakh, the first flavour that comes to mind when Easter is mentioned in Senegal, is prepared with “thiakry”, a type of semolina commonly used in West Africa, baobab tree fruit, nutmeg, milk, sugar and peanut cream. Christian families gather early on Friday at the home of a family elder and cook enough Ngalakh for almost the entire neighbourhood. Ngalakh has a liquid consistency and is served with grated coconut, banana slices and raisins.

The young people of the house make a list of Muslim neighbours and acquaintances and distribute most of the dessert to them until Friday afternoon.

Ngalakh, an Easter tradition, is considered one of the symbols of unity and solidarity between Muslims and Christians in Senegal today.

… “This solidarity is unique to Senegal

… Coly [Adama Manga] said, “In Senegal, everyone respects each other’s religion, no one is in a competition of ‘my belief is superior to yours’. This is a secular country. We live here peacefully together with Christians as well as many sects.

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