Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Happy Holidays

While most of you are buying candy for Halloween, we here in the Middle East are in the midst of our holiday season. It's the week of Eid al-Adha, an important end to the muslim holiday season that starts with Ramadan which ends in Eid al-Fitr and a month later we have the current Eid holiday.

This holiday commemorates Abraham's sacrifice of Ishmael (we differ on this point) and Allah's provision of a sacrificial lamb in his place. The first morning of the Eid many of our neighbors bought a sheep and slaughtered it. They are then required to give a third to the poor, keep a third and a give a third to friends and neighbors.

Our landlord gave us a portion of their sheep which will have it's home in a stew pot in the near future. The streets and stairwells obviously are a little bloody on a morning with such a holiday.

Everyone is dressed well during this holiday as they are to pray in their best clothes and many of the children are given new clothes as gifts. Children also receive gifts of toys, candy and money from family members and close friends during the four day festivities.

Visiting friends and family is a must during this holiday. Copious amounts of date cookies and Turkish coffee are consumed as everyone stays up late chatting and reveling in holiday cheer.

These are some assorted cookies the neighbors gave us. I couldn't help but get in a festive mood. This resulted in chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, caramel corn and salsa.

Have I visited my neighbors yet? Nope.

Why? Because I'm a shy person and am not always sure what the cultural protocol is for this holiday. I know it's their holiday season and may not want the goofy foreigner intruding on their holiday season. I am hoping to go see a couple of ladies that are good friends in the next couple of days.

If I don't, I won't have wasted my week off school. The kids and I are enjoying our time of movie marathons, dance offs and baking. Happy Holidays!

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