Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Eid Al Adha

Our first Eid Al Adha is upon us.  i know right?!  What is that?  In the states it is simply called "fall break."  In Dubai our fall break is brought to us compliments of the Muslim holiday "Eid al Adha." 

Most of what i have learned regarding this holiday comes from local Arab friends and the children's Arabic class.  (Here i must digress and share my amazement at how much they have learned of the language in such a short time.  Really, they keep trying to teach me letters and words as if they think i will actually be able to retain the information they so eagerly share with me.  Although i have come to learn certain phrases and greetings, anything written is still completely foreign to me.  They however are able to read actual arabic word which amazes me.)   

It has been interesting to live in a location with an approaching holiday i know nothing about.  The basic expat info of Eid (short for Eid al Adha) is this: much of Dubai takes advantage of the days off and subsequently leaves for other exotic locations while neighboring Saudi residents enter Dubai for 16 days (from what i am told) of relaxation and shopping.  Malls will be open for 24 hours during Eid so no need to worry about how to occupy any extra spare time you may find on your hands.  

As is consistent with the Dubai lifestyle nothing here is easy.  Even though Eid falls in October the exact date is not known until Saudi Arabia announces the moon phases which then determine the exact placement of the holiday.  This means checking the newspaper to find out when the holiday actually falls and what days you will have off.  Moms will also receive numerous emails from school attempting to clarify vacation days.  

(Excerpt taken from actual email.)
 "Now that we know that Arafat day will fall on Thursday, October 25 and the Eid Al Adha will fall on Friday, October 26, I am writing to clarify the impact on the 2012-2013 school calendar. 

Thursday, October 25, will now become a school holiday and as previously communicated and reflected in the school calendar, Sunday and Monday, October 28 and 29 will remain school holidays.  ASD will resume our regular schedule for students on Tuesday, October 30.

As Thursday, October 25 was to have been an instructional day, we will make up this day on Sunday, May 19.  Although I had previously communicated we would likely use Monday, December 3 as a “make-up” date, I’ve heard from both parents and faculty alike that plans have already been made to be out of Dubai on Monday, December 3, as this had been previously communicated to be a four day weekend..." 

Moving on...

In the states Christmas is ALWAYS Dec 25th.  However, in Islam all holidays are based on the waxing and waining of the moon and Saudis announcement of what stage the moon is at in its cycle (not NASA's) which therefore determines at the last minute when the holiday will fall.  

Now on to what the celebration of Eid is about.

"Eid al-Adha is an Islamic festival to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim (also known as Abraham) to follow Allah's (God's) command to sacrifice his son Ishmael. Muslims around the world observe this event."

Without digressing into a completely theological discussion, i have always been fascinated with the Jewish/Muslim conflict which begansback in the day with Abraham and the birth of his 2 sons, Isaac and Ismael yet hostility has continued throughout all of history.  The account of their birth is recorded in Genesis 21.  Check it out.  (Since this could be a entire other blog post and it is already late, i will move on.) 

Eid al Adah, from what i have been told by Arab friends, is celebrated by gathering large groups of friends and family for meals, celebrating and gift giving.  Typically children are the recipient of cold hard cash (which would explain why the malls are open 24 hours during this time.)  In fact Riley had a class party today in which the class was treated to traditional Arabic treats such as Za'atar, date juice with rose water, Arabic sweets and each child receiving 10 dirhams (Dubai $$) as a kick off to the holiday.  

As for us, this Eid we are planning a "stay cation."  Unfortunately, Chris has to travel as it seems the Koreans don't observe the 5 day Eid holiday.  We have planned to stay local and enjoy the arrival of mild weather (translates as Fall!) by NOT hanging out in the mall but sleeping in, frequent trips to the beach, and outings with other "stay cation" families.  There will be no large family gatherings and the only gifts being handed out will be to one very handsome young man who happens to be turning double digits this Eid which is something to celebrate!!  

Until next time...

Eid Murbarak ~ "Blessed Eid"   

1 comment:

Betty said...

Wow - I learned a lot! Thanks for the info - now if I just knew how to pronounce this, I'd really impress my friends!