National Shawarma Day Date in the current year: October 15, 2024

National Shawarma Day National Shawarma Day is observed annually on October 15. It celebrates a Middle Eastern dish that has become a popular type of fast food in many parts of the world.

Shawarma is a meat dish that consists of lamb or mutton, beef, veal, chicken, or turkey cooked on a vertical rotisserie. Seasoned and marinated meat is cut into thin slices, stacked on a skewer in the shape of an inverted cone, and roasted on a slowly-turning rotisserie in front of a heating element. The cook uses a long flat knife to shave thin slices of meat form the outer layer of the cone as it cooks.

The vertical rotisserie was invented in the Ottoman Empire in the mid-19th century. In Turkey, where the dish originated from, it is known as döner kebab. Shawarma is the Arab name of the dish, and in Greece it is known as gyros. The word “shawarma” is derived from the Turkish word “çevirme”, which means “turning”. Shawarma is a popular street food in the Middle East, including Egypt, Israel, Iraq, and Lebanon.

In the early 20th century, Lebanese immigrants brought lamb shawarma to Mexico, where it transformed into al pastor. The main difference between Middle Eastern shawarma and Mexican al pastor is that al pastor is made from pork (shawarma is never made from pork because of dietary restrictions in Islam) and marinated in a traditional Mexican marinade. Thanks to immigrants, shawarma and its “siblings”, döner kebab and gyros, came to worldwide prominence as fast food in the second half of the 20th century.

In the Middle East, shawarma meat may be seasoned with cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, paprika, turmeric, and other spices. The roasted meat slices may be served on a plate with various garnishes and condiments, but the most common way to serve shawarma is as a wrap or flatbread sandwich.

Shawarma is usually served with fresh vegetables, pickles, fries, and sauces depending on the meat. For example, chicken shawarma is typically served with toum, and beef shawarma is served with tarator. Both sauces are garlic-based, but toum consists of garlic, salt, olive oil and lemon juice, while tarator is made from tahini (sesame seed paste), garlic, salt, lemon juice and water. In Israel, shawarma is almost never served with yogurt-based sauces due to kashrut (Jewish dietary laws that forbid eating meat and milk together); it usually contains tahini and/or hummus.

National Shawarma Day was founded in 2020 by Osmow’s, a Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fast casual chain with more than a hundred locations in Canada and the United States. The chain’s founder, Sam Osmow, created the holiday to celebrate one of its signature dishes and, of course, to promote his business.

Celebrate National Shawarma Day by going out with your friends and enjoying some delicious shawarma. Osmow’s and other places that serve shawarma offer various promotions and discounts to celebrate the holiday; make the most of them! And don’t forget to snap a photo of your shawarma and post it on social media with the hashtag #NationalShawarmaDay before diving in.

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National Shawarma Day, holidays in the United States, holidays in Canada, food days, unofficial holidays