Thursday, January 12, 2006

So back to the same old same old.

So it turns out that our Eid last night wasn't very happening at all. There was no fanfare, no crowds, nothing really out of the ordinary. In fact, I even had my English conversation class on Wednesday night, and when I told the girls (it was just 3 of us total) that they could cancel if they wished, they said no no, this class is fun. Yes, I am *that* fantastic a teacher. :) J/k.. it's just girls chatting so it is actually quite fun.

Anyway I asked the girls if this is how Eid always was and they said yes, pretty much. They call family and friends and maybe go visiting a little, but not much else. Interestingly enough, I also learned that several of their family members do in fact slaughter animals for the sacrifice but there was still no overt indication of it being a holiday around this area, ie no animals spotted.

Oh speaking of which, (yes, I'm about to digress) since we've come here, we actually haven't seen *any* farm animals running around. I was expecting donkeycarts and horsecarts, sheep and cows here and there crossing the street, lots of chickens running around or in cages on the streets.. but no. Nothing. I think there are 4 or 5 chickens and ducks that belong to a household so they're like pets (except when one mysteriously disappears every so often) but nothing else. No animal dung on the streets.. no braying of donkeys. There are some stray cats you see slinking around, and at night sometimes you can hear dogs howling... but they seem to scatter during the day. They must hide out in the mountains. Sigh, I'm being cheated of my 3rd world experience. If I wanted clean streets and fam animal-free neighborhoods, I would have stayed in the Virginia suburbs. Actually, we had cows and horses where I lived in Virginia, so really the comparison is moot.

So anyway, back to Eid here in Iran. They all get one day off from school and work, which is odd. Overall, I'm surprised that in a Muslim country and in such a religious city, it didn't feel like one of the most important Islamic holidays, and people here only get 1 day off instead of the usual 3 or 4. Innnnteresting.

Apparently, the Persian New Year, Noruz, is what replaces all other celebrations as the biggest thing. It lasts 10 or 13 days or something like that, and that's when people are off from school and work and people try and fly into Iran from abroad to celebrate with their families and it's just one long celebration.

Some of the ladies, being more religious, had expressed a certain embarrassment and regret that Noruz overshadows the Eids, but they explained that during the Shah's time, he eleveated every Persian holiday to boost nationalism and cultural pride, and he downplayed Islam and, at least in terms of days off and celebrations, the trend seems to have stuck.

No worries, because from what I've noticed here, people are able to balance culture and religion pretty well. They love their Persian/Zoroastrian holidays and celebrations and are incredibly proud of it all, but it doesn't seem to conflict with their absolute devotion and piety as Muslims. So more power to them for having that many more holidays and enjoying them all.

Apparently there was a lot of very good Eid programming on TV. I suppose if I had watched Persian channels and understood them, I would feel more Eid-y. As it were, the Pakistani channel (PTV Prime) had lots of Eid programming too so I watched a bit of that. It was some boring music show in Lahore where all the songs sound the same, but I like the sound of bhangra music so I enjoyed. I also got to laugh at the cheesy dance moves, at the very poor sound and at the camera and programming glitches and awkward hosting by the MCs.

Oh, and we took a self portrait for Eid last night. I told him at least we should have one pic of the holiday. The green shalwar qameez (Paki loose-pant long-tunic garb) AliBob is wearing is the same one he wore on his birthday. His clothing of choice and comfort is shalwar qameez... what a Paki wannabe! We call it his special occasion ensemble, also known as his pyjamas. And don't be fooled, though it may look like I always wear the same gray t-shirt, this one is, in fact, a different one. The other finally got washed after a few weeks of accumulating body soil. Mua ha. Ha.

That's all we had on Eid. Snow and each other. We always have a good time together.

Anyway, the snow continued into the night and, lo and behold, today it had stuck, but only on the mountains. It's still weird for me to see snow in the desert, but whatever. The other thing seems to be rain. In the past few weeks it has rained on several days--not a heavy rainfall, but more like a constant pitter patter drizzle through the night. I'm annoyed that it feels so undeserty. I love rain. How dare it ruin my exotic Iranian desert adventure experience by raining AND snowing? I can't handle many more of my stereotypes, prejudices and preconceived notions being shattered. If I'd wanted a wet snowy winter, I'd just go back to Virginia. We'll just chalk it up to winter.

Today, Fatemeh invited me over to her place because she got a snow day. In Qom, a couple of centimeters does the trick and school is off. So we hung out and ate sweets and then Dr. Elahi came over and the 3 of us ate lunch together. It was ghormeh sabzi and it was *really* good... similar to the Pakistani palak gosht.

Then later on this evening, when the Khanum came home from work (yes, it was her first official day as she opened the doors of her private law practice) and we walked over to a seamstress's place so she could measure me for my chador. There wasn't much measuring involved (chador means tent) and she just let it drop and we determined the right length for m tent.

Anyway, AliBobba got a couple of good pics of the snowy mountains. I had taken some too but those were quite honestly just such crap.


Blogger huma said...

that's a really nice picture of you guys -- sara you definitely look like ww's been paying off (and no i don't mean wrestling). 10 days off is still a lot of time -- we don't get that much or at least we don't in the working world

11:17 PM  

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