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  • Writer's pictureAhtaram Shin

Preserving Rohingya heritage: The art of making Luçi Fiçá

Updated: May 12

2023 © Sabekur Nahar

An elderly woman crafts Luçi Fiçá, a traditional Rohingya rice flour bread, amid the observance of Qurban Eid Festival. In her hands, rice transforms into heritage.


What is Luçi Fiçá? Luçi Fiçá is a traditional Rohingya rice flour flatbread, similar to a flour tortilla. It has origins dating back to ancient times, but the recipe and tradition are still preserved and cherished, especially during special occasions. The key ingredient is rice flour, created by finely grinding rice grains. Luçi Fiçá is frequently served alongside curries made with beef, mutton, or chicken, particularly during festivals like Eid-Ul-Adha and Eid-Ul-Fitr.


The process of making Luçi Fiçá: Crafting Luçi Fiçá is an integral part of Rohingya culture. The process involves rice powder, a rolling pin, and a rolling board. The rice powder is mixed with water and heated in a pan, where some fura sojja (charred rice bits) form at the bottom, which are then eaten by children. The heated rice powder is then kneaded extensively before being shaped into hañyor dola balls. These are then rolled out between the rolling pin and board to create the flat, circular Luçi Fiçá . Additional rice powder, called fotton in Rohingya, is used to aid the expansion and shaping of the flatbread. Finally, a hoñla, a plate made of soil is used to heat and crisp up the Luçi Fiçá .


Watch the video below to hear Sabekur Nahar discussing her photograph in more detail.




Sabekur Nahar is a 24-year-old living of the Balukhali refugee camp in Bangladesh, where she lives with her husband and three children. Despite having her secondary education cut short due to the challenges faced by many Rohingya girls, Sabekur found creative expression through tailoring and embroidery, skills she learned from the women in her community.



‘If our villages had high schools like those in Bangladesh, our dreams wouldn’t be left unfulfilled,’ she laments.

Originally aspiring to be a designer, Sabekur found a different path to creative expression. In 2012, she learned tailoring and embroidery from women in her community. She used to craft various items such as clothing for UNHCR orphan children, school bags, and embroidered hijabs in Myanmar.


‘Our Rohingya community has a rich tradition of needlework, and I found joy and a sense of accomplishment in it,’ she says.

After relocating to Bangladesh, Sabekur’s journey took her through various roles—from teaching at a BRAC learning center to working in DRC’s protection sector and spending four years in IOM’s site management. Currently, she is employed at the Rohingya Cultural Memory Centre, where she had the opportunity to explore photography through a masterclass, ultimately joining the Rohingyatographer Magazine. Shabukur finds fulfilment in her current role, as it enables her to capture the authentic struggles and lives of the Rohingya.


‘I’m content because my work now serves as a lens into the realities of my community,’ she explains.


 

This feature is part of The Rohingya Experience, an exhibition set in St Helier, Island of Jersey during July 2024, developed by Rohingyatographer, a collective of Rohingya refugee photographers in partnership with Jersey Overseas Aid.



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