With Eid al-Fitr just around the corner, The Bay has unveiled an inspired gift guide to help take the guesswork out of preparing for this special occasion. Curated in collaboration with three Canadian influencers—Hawa Baledio, Anam Lone and Saira Arshad—the guide delivers gift-givers (and receivers!) with inspiration across beauty, fashion and home. We chatted with Hawa to find out more. —Noa Nichol
Hi Hawa! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.
Hello Vita Daily! My name is Hawa Baledio and I’m Fulani from Senegal, West Africa. In addition to being a beauty content creator / influencer and a certified makeup artist, I also majored in International Business and have been working as a project manager, who is passionate about all things beauty, reading and traveling.
How did you hook up with The Bay to help curate its Eid Gift Guide? What about the opportunity made it a perfect fit for you?
The Bay contacted me and expressed they wanted to partner with me for this Eid Al-Fitr. Now, guess my reaction when I opened the email: I was so excited that I instantly had to tell someone, otherwise I would’ve imploded. I felt honoured to be chosen amongst many creators to help other Muslims better celebrate Eid with their loved ones… Since my content mostly centers around assisting my audience make better purchase decisions in an overwhelming market full of choices, I knew The Bay would be a great fit.
What is the annual Eid celebration all about, and what does it mean to you? What cultural traditions (from childhood, or even further back) do you keep, and do you put any personal twists on the holiday when celebrating today?
Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and to me, it’s all about charity, forgiveness and gratitude. In my culture, it’s customary to reconnect and reconcile with loved ones during Eid. Although it’s a tradition I still keep, my husband and I have incorporated annual donations of unused items to local charities in addition to the Zakat al-Fitr. We hope to do more every year and inspire others to do the same.
How does gift-giving figure into the celebration of Eid, and what was your input for The Bay’s gift guide?
Who doesn’t like gifts? I know I do! Exchanging gifts on Eid is just as important because it solidifies relationships and most of all, it puts a smile on someone’s face. That’s why for the gift guide, I wanted people to feel assisted with their purchases, since it can be overwhelming to find the perfect gift. For that reason, I ensured that I selected a variety of beauty products from hair care to skincare, makeup and perfumes that both men and women would enjoy.
Does a campaign/collaboration like this help promote and enhance multiculturalism, in your opinion? How so?
Absolutely! With globalization, there’s almost no frontier anymore. This could increase awareness and acceptance of cultural diversities and identities. Also, it’s important to show the world that, what unites us is far greater than what differentiates us. I believe that by reading our stories and getting to know us better, people will realize that despite our traditions and rituals, we are all a reflection of one another.
Do you have a favourite food to eat at Eid, or a recipe to share with us?
It’s hard to just pick one dish because Senegal has such a rich culinary heritage. But my favorite one is the “THIETTY”, which is grilled sheep meat specific to my tribe: Fulani. It’s a healthy dish cooked around or on top of direct fire. It’s mainly seasoned with salt and any other spices of your choice. To top it all, we follow it with the traditional Senegalese tea called « Attaya », where all family members gather around to enjoy the festivities.
We understand that charity or the duty to give to the poor is also a part of Eid; can you tell us a bit more about that aspect of it, especially in your own observance?
To summarize it, Eid Al-Fitr emphasizes on Zakat al-Fitr, which is a charitable donation that falls to the head if the family or every adult Muslim, who has food in excess of their need. In a sense, that act of generosity is supposed to help the beneficiary celebrate Eid with their loved ones. Nowadays, my husband and I have started giving the Zakat Al-Fitr to charity organizations like Islamic Relief Canada, that help rescue war victims and refugees among other less fortunate people.
Finally, of the gifts included in The Bay’s Eid Gift Guide, what’s your absolute fave, and why?
Ooh! This is a hard one, but after a vacillating debate with myself, my choice would be hands down: the DR Dennis Gross Advanced Retinol + Feluric Overnight Wrinkle Treatment. Its formulation with superstar ingredients like Retinol and Bakuchiol, makes an effective treatment against advanced texture concerns like fine line & wrinkles, acne and hyperpigmentation. I’ve struggled with my smile lines since my teen years and they are less prominent now. Oooh! Am I impressed and obsessed with the smoother texture and the healthy glow it’s given to my skin…! I’m glad I discovered it because I keep repurchasing it.