Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving! Eid Mubarak!

As I am writing this blog, most of you are sitting down to a traditional Thanksgiving meal with friends and family. I will do the same on the morrow as John has to work today because it is not an Emirati holiday. So Happy Thanksgiving to all. We will have around 35 people at our house tomorrow to celebrate our Thanksgiving. Today Shirly and I have been cooking and cleaning in preparation for tomorrow. One Turkey Bird left last night to go to someone else's house to be cooked and the other one will go in my oven in the morning. Sweet Potatoe casserole and green beans were cooked this morning. Yesterday was more pumpkin pies and a cranberry mold. This is an important meal to all who are coming. It represents family, home, and good ole' southern cooking! I spoke to several of the attendees the other night (all from the south)and they are looking forward to this annual event. Most of these people come here every year to work during this time, so it has become a tradition for the Commander to host a T-Day meal. They were asking about it as soon as they arrived weeks ago.

Today also marks the beginning of an important Islamic holiday, Eid al-Adha, "Festival of Sacrifice" or "Greater Eid." According to Wikipedia, the holiday is celebrated by Muslims to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismael as an act of obedience to God. The festival starts on Thursday, 26 November 2009, and annually falls on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijja of the lunar Islamic calendar. The festivities last for three days or more depending on the country. Eid al-Adha occurs the day after the pilgrims conducting Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia by Muslims worldwide, descend from Mount Arafat. It happens to be approximately 70 days after the end of the month of Ramadan. Eid mubarak is a traditional Muslim greeting reserved for use on the festivals of Eid ul-Adha and Eid ul-Fitr. The phrase translates into English as "blessed festival", and can be paraphrased as "may you enjoy a blessed festival". Muslims wish each other Eid Mubarak after performing the Eid prayer. This celebration continues until the end of the day, and continues a further three days. It is notable that saying these exact words is a cultural tradition influenced by deep roots of religion in it; however, it is not part of any religious obligations. Eid refers to the occasion itself, and Mubarak means 'congratulations'.
Emirati are celebrating this holiday over the next few days with traditional meals and going to Mosque. Many are taking the pilgrimage to Haj. The paper has been full of articles about the concern over the H1N1 Flu. Saudi Arabia is requiring all pilgrims to arrive vaccinated and with proof of vaccination. The paper stated the other day that a large percentage of people are electing not to receive the vaccine. Not sure why. I think it is free. Some people are concerned that it has not been tested thoroughly. Many Emirati this time as a vacation time and the airlines and travel agencies have been busy booking extended vacations. All the local schools are closed for ten days. I am not sure why they are closed for 10 days as the festival only last for four. It might be that the Eid holiday coincides with National Day next week. The Emirati celebrate their 38th year as a country on December 2.
Eid al-Adha Official name
Also called
Festival of Sacrifice, Sacrifice Feast
Commemoration of Ibrahim's (Abraham's) willingness to sacrifice his son for Allah. Marks the end of the Pilgrimage to sundown, and ask God for forgiveness.
10 Dhu al-Hijjah
13 Dhu al-Hijjah
2009 date
November 27 to November 30 (calculated)
Prayer, sacrificing a goat, sheep, cow or a camel, giving to poor people as a gift.
***All information regarding the Eid holiday are taken from Wikipedia.

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