Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It must be Eid

Sure signs that it is Eid in Kuwait:
  • Teenage boys are left to 'play' and entertain themselves on the streets with their air rifles. Fun. (This goes on into the small hours of the morning!)
  • Their are lots of happy Kuwaiti drivers on the roads, new cars are often given as gifts at Eid. (Nice gift huh!)
  • The roads are much quieter in the morning (everyone stayed up too late shopping) - you'll be sure to be able to find a seat at your favourite cafe for breakfast.
  • Blood stained bricks and cement from the slaughter is still evident (even though street slaughter is apparently , from this year, now banned in Kuwait).

All this aside, I realise that Eid Al-Adah (or 'big' Eid) is a very religious celebration for many muslims. Even I am drawn to watch the rituals in Mecca (on TV). There is something quite hypnotic about watching the masses of people circle the Kaaba. (It is forbidden for non-muslims to go to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, but the Hajj (the holy pilgrimage) is on nearly every local channel.)

(I would tell you why Eid Al-Adah is important-but I don't know if it is interesting. Basic fact-it is to remember Prophet Abraham and his willingness to sacrifice his only son- he didn't have to do it in the end, Allah intervened and he was able to sacrifice a ram, so it is tradition for muslim families to do the same).

On the Hajj, the men dress in simple white clothes and  move like waves (there would be little choice in the direction, toilet stops would be a tricky one!). Nearly 3 million people started the Hajj this year. Pretty much a logistical nightmare. Scenes on the TV showed men trying to create shade for a rest in any space they could find in the 35 degrees heat.

It is quite a sight at Kuwait airport alone. Planes are turned into buses, with hundreds of men (and women, but mostly men) just waiting to get onto the next one to enable them to start the Hajj. Sleeping at the airport until they are next in line. Many just hope to go once during there life time and save up all their savings to take the journey. After the Hajj, the airport is again heaving with the pilgrims and their gallons of holy water that they have brought back.

But then, the bit that we all love...the sales start!!


  1. This must be such a cool thing to witness first hand... it's so funny to see how westernization and capitalism meets in the middle east.

    I specialised in Middle Eastern studies during my first degree and find the religious of Islam and the Muslim culture absolutely beautiful and fascinating!


  2. That is really cool Jenna, I didn't know that.

  3. Thank you for the explanation - I was wondering what it is about and how it is celebrated. Such an interesting part of the world.

  4. The value given (by all religions I see) to Abraham's readiness to sacrifice his son at God's call has always been for me one of the most incomprehensible things of Christian believes. But know I do understand it better, everything is a good enough reason for a good enough party!:-)

  5. Oh wow! I've never even heard of this. I know the story of Abraham and Isaac but had no idea it was a celebration like this.
    DEFINITELY interesting!

  6. Fascinating post. I know so little about Islam. Learning from you!

  7. This is fascinating, what an experience.


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