Sunday, September 12, 2010

Eid ul Fitr 2010

For the night before Eid, which was Friday last, just three days ago, I took the kids to have Iftar (breaking the fast at sunset) to a restaurant. We enjoyed it and then we grocery shopped. Hey, that is the BEST time to grocery shop. I am cut throat! Even with the kids with me. It made me think that I usually shop for food when I am hungry so tend to buy unnecessary things! We went home and around 2am I was still cooking! I did take a break after we got home. The kids put all the food away and started defrosting the chicken for me which was really helpful and great on their part. I did good by them!

On Eid morning, we got up and got dressed in REALLY extravagant clothing and put on serious makeup and SERIOUS jewelry! Oh, forgot to mention BEOFRE Iftar, I took Amal to get henna. The parlor was so freaking busy that I had to wait in the car. The lady said '30 minutes' before they could get to Amal but I was pissed because it took 2.5 hours!  Errgghh...  I should have known that!

Here she is in a traditional henna parlor in Muscat. They have these floor cushions that most Arabs sit on. They are great for a corner in the house for small kids. They can play and rough house without getting hurt as much. I mean, you don't have to worry about the corners on tables and them falling off or climbing the furniture! Anyway, the back cushions are really thick and heavy and provide back support. There are also arm rests. You can make out that the lady is using one for the client to rest their arms on. In this picture; she is sorting out with Amal what Amal wants exactly and talking to another worker in the parlor.

Not a great picture but we are both wearing Indian Salwar Khameez. That is a tunic and pants. You can see a little bit of Amal's henna. She is wearing what is called Sudanese henna. Why? Because they put a dye in it to make it black and therefore it can be seen on darker skinned people. Yes, men wear henna too but in a different way. Anyway, you can see a little bit.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of Eid day with Waqar's family. I will try to get some. This is yesterday or the 2nd day of Eid and we are driving about 2 hours to my husband's best friend's village Bisiya. My husband is wearing a Massar which is a long scarf made in Kashmir from bird feathers and can be very expensive. The Omani men put on their Kuma (below on my son Ali) and then wrap this scarf in the coolest way around that. It is formal attire. The men wear it to government jobs; weddings; big important meetings and other reasons I can't think of!

Here is a snapshot of my son Ali in his Disdasha, the traditional and very much still used dress attire for men. He has his spiffy new sunglasses and he feels so cool! He is wearing a Kuma. This cap is like a baseball cap, informal. The kids wear them to school if they are in Omani schools and all the time. Here he is playing with his nintendo I think.

Here is Amu, my daughter, telling her dad something. Yeah, I did a quick turn of the wrist to snap these shots of the kids, with my ancient iPhone!  Not bad! 


The Kuma comes off, the whining starts, "Are we there yet?" and I'm like, "Noooo, we aren't even half way!!" So, what do the kids do....they conk out!

I think I woke Amu up with my giggling and taking a few pictures of Ali so I couldn't see what I was doing and out of all the shots, this one was the best. I only posted it so you all could see her henna! She was asleep before though!

Then, on the phone because we got lost when we got to Nizwa. They built a newer, better road to Bisiya but it has been a while so W was getting directions! I thought it was funny.

So we found it and went in and visited with everyone and people were in and out and it was so much fun because these people rock. They are the nicest Omani people I have ever met and Zahran, Waqar's best friend, is SO FUNNY! He makes me laugh all the time. An amazing sense of humor! His wife, Samia, is also the sweetest woman. Intelligent and has very good English so we can communicate! They were living in Saudi working for Schlumberger as was my husband. The two men became fast friends and then Z married S here in Bisiya and took her to Saudi. I was heavily pregnant with my Ali and so this couple have been there since Amu was 2 and Ali was in utero! My hubby started his own oil company and brought them back to Oman with another friend and his wife and kids. I don't know why I just told you all that....

After lunch, which was Omani Kabuli and O.M.G. was it tasty! I shall have to learn how to cook it! I know another recipe but it is very different to this one. I was taught by my Spanish/English friend married to an Omani. Hers is chicken with rice and nuts and raisins. This one from the village was mutton and rice with raisins. No nuts. Still, the taste was yummy! They also served something I forgot to get the name; and that was mutton chunks with this really thin, like paper thin, bread and you eat it with honey! Who knew?? Very tasty.

Ok. The picture above is of one of the Shuwa pits. Shuwa is traditional Arab food for Eid and weddings and special occasions. This post is going to be long so I don't want to go back to previous years where I watched them season the goat and wrap it up and identify it. About 100 goats from different families go in there. We missed it because SOMEONE had to take a personal break and took too long! Bah humbug, Z decided to take us all there too late! It's your fault Z!! Anyway, we all jumped into a few cars and went to this place above. They had already packed it all up. I'm not sure of the process but I can guarantee you it is a man's world. No women. But because there were so many of us and only two females, Amu and I with about 4 little kids and about 5 or 6 men it was alright.  Doesnt' look like much but dinner is in there. Don't worry, it is all very hygenic and it reminded me of the Hawaiian luows. I know that is not spelled right.


We quickly drove to another pit and found the men working it.  It is a small village and if you aren't related to someone you certainly know everyone! They were all checking out the white girl! Me! Here the men are putting wet mud and sealing the hole up. This prevents the smoke from coming out. So, I imagine it all cooks inside. It takes a few days too. For example, Z's family's goat went in late afternoon yesterday and they will take it out tomorrow. It is slow cooked. In the capital, people have sinks outside of their homes for slaughtering the goats for religious holidays such as this and other reasons Muslims do this ritual. Some families, I hear as I haven't seen it with my own eyes yet, have Shuwa pits and do it at home. I learned how to make my own shuwa using Z's family's recipe in my oven.

We drove around and one of Z's brother's that was driving showed me the house that they used to live in. Isn't this amazing? The Omani's and I presume many Arabs in the region, used to have mud houses! This is because mud stays cool in our long hot summers. I think I was told years ago that one would damped the walls to keep the coolness in. So interesting. Of the five boys born into this family, only two of the boys were born here. Then they moved to the current house they are in and the three boys were born.

This was the old souk. An outside market where people would sell their wares. It is empty and abandoned but still standing. Very interesting. Oh, this is the entrance.

If you look inside the wall, you will see a bunch of rubble and some larger stones. This is a Muslim, village of Oman, graveyard! In Islam, once a person is gone; you are not meant to visit the graves like we do in America. This is the way they 'mark' their graves. Interesting.

After our tour of Bisiya; we went back to the house and Samia brought out Bakhour (bah-whoo-er). They have these cool little pots made of clay and burn some coals. Then, they put this bakhour on it and it smokes. It has a strong smell of I don't know what. I think of Arabia when I smell it. What she is doing is putting it under Amal's dress. The smell will stay in the clothing even after washing. It doesn't get stale or pungent. I keep walking past my abaya as I go in and out of my Studio and smell it. We don't always burn it in our house but Amal is more interested in her Arab side so we are going shopping with her Omani aunty to get all the 'stuff' one needs and I will post all about that! It's really cool!

A fuller shot of Amal.  That is Suleiman's foot, pardon!

By golly, I'm not the best photographer but here is a blurred view of the little hand held apparatus with the coals and bakhour; and Samia!

Just around 11pm, we were getting ready to leave to get back home and it dawned on me that I don't have any pictures of Z and S's kids. So, I had Amu take this one with Ali showing the kids a game on my iPad. They were so taken! You see my Ali, Nizar and Layan or Lulu. Oh, and that is me!! We are missing Mr. Nawaf, the middle child and quite a character.

This certainly was a long post. This is a little bit of the festivities of Eid. I love coming to the village. It is great fun and so interesting.

Samia and I have made a date to meet up once the kids are all back to school and before she goes back to school for a coffee. Also, we are making plans to go to Paris just she and I!!  ??

Today, I get to go and start up the laundry, cook a nice dinner, clean the bathrooms and figure out how to feed Peaches and Uki and our outside police cat Oreo when we leave for Dubai tomorrow morning. With no maid, there will be no one here to feed them for three or four days. All of W's family are going away too so I can't ask them. We shall figure it out.

Thanks for taking the time to read all about it!  


a.niza said...

Salam Aidil Fitri from Malaysia

Alia said...

Wa'alaikum salaam. Eid Mubarak to you too a.niza!!

Clodagh a.k.a. Isra said...

A lovely post Alia and it looks like you have had a lovely Eid.
P.S. 2.5 hours waiting in the car, you are a very good mummy indeed!

Alia said...

Thank you Isra. I must clarify that I did not wait the entire 2.5 hours in the car. I would have gone grocery shopping instead but Amal did not want to be left alone and as I can not sit on the floor EVER; I had no choice but to sit in the car or stand. I don't stand well either for any length of time so I ended up sitting down on a stool for the rest of the time. Everyone speaks English but they don't. They speak Arabic or Urdu and stare at us! It bugged me this time! Anyway, we did have a lovely day and will continue on with Dubai!!