Friday, 27 November 2009

Bangers and Festivals

Woke up this morning to an cavalcade of bangs and crashes and the realisation that there were a lot of people out on the streets at a relatively early stage of the day. This being Bosnia and all, I was out of bed pretty sharpish, before remembering that today is Kurbam Bajram, the Bosnian Muslim festival of Eid Al Adha. Muslim tradition asks for an animal to be sacrificed and the meat shared between friends, neighbours with a certain amount donated to the poor. So, having been to the mosque and setting off a lot of bangers in the street everyone was heading home to cook epic amounts of meat and will be spending the next couple of days visiting their family and neighbours to share said meat. This Bajram goes on for four days, so there's a whole lot of meat to be eaten, even by Bosnian standards. Then, much like Halloween, many Bosnian children are allowed to come and knock on doors to ask for money or sweets to help their celebrations.

Bajram is one of those festivals, like Easter, that moves about a bit during the year and it always seems to take people by surprise. At least this year I had some forewarning about the closure of the boys nursery. So, with two energetic little lads requiring some attention from their mother and bags to be packed for our weekend away in Zagreb (it has a cinema!), I've opted for the short cut and dug about in the Brits In Bosnia backlog to find the post I wrote last year at this time. Now if I can just stop the boys getting hold of any bangers...

"One of things that I always forget about Bosnia is that with a significant proportion of the population belonging to 3 different religions, it seems that there is always a holiday to celebrate. Right now the Muslims are celebrating Kurbam Bajram (also known as Eid Al Adha which is the Festival of Sacrifice, in commemoration of the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God.). This being Bosnia it involves a lot of eating and drinking and a fair amount of partying with many children knocking on our door for small gifts.

I'm gearing up for Christmas at the moment, along with most of the Bosnian Croats who are predominantly Catholic. Right now this appears to involve writing a lot of Christmas cards, wondering where we will get a tree and wishing I had got my act together earlier regarding buying Christmas presents. Tuzla has a significant Croat population and Christmas is a big affair. The town is covered in Christmas lights which, if I am not mistaken, are exactly the same as the ones decorating the lampposts back home.

Then there is the Orthodox Christmas, celebrated by the Serbs, on January 7th. I have to confess to knowing very little about this one, but talk to me after Jan 7th and I hope to know a little more.

Here in Tuzla, which has always prided itself on its multi-ethnic outlook and inclusiveness, the citizens appear to have taken the decision to celebrate everything, irrespective of their personal religion. When Bajram falls in December this time of year gets pretty busy, particularly as there is also a Bosnian National Day holiday at the end of November as well. Throw in a New Year (which everyone celebrates with enthusiasm) and you really do have a festive season. Now, if only I could know when the holidays were before I turn up to find a closed nursery I'd be truly jolly."

15 comments:

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Wishing you a great weekend! Another Christmas on 7th January - not sure if that sounds like a lot of fun or simply a big headache!!

CJ xx

Mwa said...

I like that everyone celebrates everyone's festivals. Good idea.

goonerjamie said...

Not sure I could cope with 2 Christmases (or the idea of trying to write Christmas in plural). Good luck

Rebel Mother said...

I know an animal you can sacrifice, bloody Oscar the cat, who lives next door. Sprays in my house he does....

The festival sounds fabulous. Hope you have a great day.

Love RMxx

Teacher Mommy said...

Right now my parents are dealing with the celebration of Tabaski, which is the West African Islamic version of what you're having. Fewer explosions, but what's interesting is that the Muslim population gathers in the very large open area in front of my parents' courtyard and pray. My parents' house happens to lie in the direction of Mecca, so there's a huge expanse of praying men facing their house. Rather odd. And then they kill a ram.

Ah, memories.

TheMadHouse said...

Hope you have a fantastic weekend and I really do enjoy hearing about all these traditions and festivals

WeDoAdventure said...

Enjoy Zagreb. We were there for the U2 show back in August but never really got to see the city - apart from finding a nice Indian resturant. Let us know if a return trip comes recommended!

Hot Cross Mum said...

Your life sounds so much more interesting than mine. Enjoy Zagreb.

Anonymous said...

Hi Emily
your mum put me onto your blog a while ago and I wanted you to know I've been loving it! are you on Twitter too?
I've just finished 'wife in the north' worth a look if you havent seen it already. http://www.wifeinthenorth.com/
I'm in LA these days with 2 kids, one husband and 5 chickens

cheerio

Sophie Woodforde

Lorna Harris said...

We've just celebrated Thanksgiving and now a full Christmas onslaught begins. Think it's lovely that everyone joins in with all the festivals. What a great idea.

Owen said...

Plenty of Eid bangers in East London, at least there seem to be less kids driving around with the passengers sitting out of the windows than at Eid al Fitr. Do they go in for that in Tuzla? Banger culture can be a pain in the ear but it's rather less liable to be fatal. Be grateful your kids aren't 17!

Toni in Ithaca said...

Em: Just catching up on your blog after our Thanksgiving holiday in Pennsylvania. Tell Melissa "hi" from us, and to work on some good publicity for the darling boys,not just "notoriety." Yes, we would most certainly like to read your draft, and not just being polite. Do send it.

Tattie Weasle said...

I loved living abroad and sharing everyone's festivals. Hari Ryhah was the one we had in Brunei where the Sultan would invite the whole country to tea and to shake hands. Ok Brunei is a very small country but it was still very impressive and good fun!

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

CJ - My thoughts precisely. Just when you thought you had finished the festive season.... (cue theme to Jaws music)

Mwa - it is quite fun. The parties for Bajram are something else!

GJ - christmas is one of those words that shouldn't exist in the plural.

RM - send him over. If nothing else our dog can bark at him for a bit...

TM - Love the idea of everyone praying towards your parents house. Do you go back there at all?

MH - we did!

WDA - go, it was brilliant. If only for the cinema and the thai restaurant...

HCM - the key to that sentence is the word sounds. It isn't really! Life is pretty much about getting the kids up, fed, entertained and to bed.

Anon - hi Sophie! Mum said that she'd passed it onto you. I'm not on twitter but keep thinking about it. I'll get your email off mum for more news on husband, babies and chickens! x

LH - Christmas onslaught not really happening here. Quite a relief actually.

Owen - I can imagine! There is a fair amount of hanging out of car windows here too, but the bangers are the key.

Toni - I will! to all of it.

TW - that is impressive. Did you go?

Tattie Weasle said...

Wouldn't have missed it for the world and I got on the local TV!