The old saying, “When it rains, it pours” is applicable no matter where my husband and I seem to live. Sometimes we visit with our neighbors or they visit us rather spasmodically; then sometimes we are showered with visits of one nature or the other. Yesterday was one of those “pouring” days and I don’t mean rain…but let me back up a day or two.
Late one evening while sitting at my computer desk on the second floor of our flat, I heard a voice outside my window which seemed rather close. In turning around to look, I saw a young man wobbly balancing on our window ledge trying to tie some streamers to our window grill. You can only imagine my surprise as I spoke with him regarding his intentions. In assessing the situation, I realized we were going to have a wedding a few doors down the street and our home was one of the designated ‘decorated’ ones.
Back to yesterday…it all began when a dear neighbor brought over a plate full of wara aynab (grape leaves stuffed with cooked seasoned rice and ground beef). They were still warm and absolutely delicious. After my husband and I indulged, I went outside to see what all the loud banging was about. That is when I witnessed the erection of a huge tent-like structure totally blocking our street and thus closing off traffic from both ends. Various lighting was hung in strategic places and chairs were placed around the parameter of the tent. This enormous structure was decorated with large beautiful red Persian like carpets which became the walls of the tent. This street tent was the designated area for the men’s wedding party that evening.
While outside, one of the neighbor girls invited me into their home for a visit. As we were visiting, the man of the house came in and invited my husband and me for lunch that afternoon around 3:30 p.m. Realizing that lunch here in our neighborhood is not at noon, but in the middle of the afternoon and supper/dinner is not served until around 10 p.m. Anyway, we made a cake and went for ‘lunch.’ As usual the food was absolutely delicious and way too much. We enjoyed roasted chicken, a special rice dish with nuts, and a cucumber/tomato salad with yogurt. Afterwards, tea was served along with my cake, followed by Arabic coffee and cookies. So much for dieting…. During our visit, the man of the house informed us we were to leave the decorations up until after Ramadan was over which we agreed to do. (Ramadan is the Islamic month of fasting but it is also a celebration.)
But an interesting thing happened…while I was being invited to lunch by one neighbor, my husband was visiting with another neighbor and later we were both invited to lunch at his home on the same day. Of course, we had to regretfully decline and hope there will be a ‘rain-check.’
I would be amiss if I did not mention that my husband attended the wedding party for the men…a very festive and LOUD party with plenty of fireworks and dancing. You see, in this culture, the men have their party the evening before the bride has her party. So tonight, the groom will go and get his bride and take her to her party. The bride’s party is where she will wear her beautiful wedding gown, a multi-tired wedding cake will be cut with a very huge sword, and her groom will give her a large amount of gold jewelry. By the way, the groom is the only man allowed to come to the women’s party.
As you can see we had a rather full day, but I must admit, I loved every minute of it. These precious people really know how to enjoy food and celebrate a wedding!
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