The annual pilgrimage to Mecca, the hajj, occurred this week. The tradition brings together millions of muslims every year as faithful followers repeat the same pilgrimage that muslims have done for thousands of years, since the time of Abraham. As they make their pilgrimage, muslims pray for the things they want and need most in life and perform rituals to complete their journey. Pilgrims wear traditional dress with no pockets, forcing them to carry only the most valuable necessities, including water and prayer mats, on their heads.

The pilgrimage is a strenuous and hot journey, so everyone craves a cold treat. Once they reach their destination, the Grand Mosque or Masjid al-Haram, tired pilgrims line up at the Aesra ice cream shop. Ice cream brings all the people together as they find common ground and enjoy ice cream after their long journey. Some pilgrims confessed to getting ice cream five times a day, one after each prayer.

The lesson? Nothing brings people together like ice cream.