Eid Mubarak everyone! Or as the Kurdish say, Jazhntan Piroz Bet! Roughly translated to, many blessings to you. I was told it means congratulations, but I think my interlocutors were translating literally.
Eid al-Adha is the latter of two Eid holidays, and is also called the Feast of the Sacrifice, the Major Festival, and the Greater Eid. In Kurdistan, it’s called Jazhn (pronounced jeh-zhun; I get confused by the Kurdish transliteration and so I make up my own). Eid is an important 3-day Muslim religious holiday that celebrates Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmail (Abraham and Isaac) as an act of obedience and submission to God. From the little I know, the major events or rituals of Eid are prayers, and an animal sacrifice, of which part of the meat will be given to friends and family, and part of it will go to the needy.
In Kurdistan, I’ve been told that it’s as much a cultural tradition as it is a religious one. Family gathers together for a bountiful meal in the morning (feasting in the morning?! Whaaat?!), and later go around the neighborhood greeting family and friends and wishing them a blessed Jazhn. Traditionally, you buy new clothes for Eid to look your best at the mosque, or for your family and friends if that’s not really your thing. Because pretty much everyone I work with and everyone I know here in Ranya aren’t particularly religious – or are straight up atheist (maybe agnostic). So when I tried to ask about the prayers, the response was, “well…I think the men go early in the morning. There may be a separate space for women, but I don’t really know because I haven’t been in a mosque in yeeeears.” Fair enough. I asked about the prayers because, aside from the general interest in new customs and traditions, they’ve been going at it through the loudspeakers since yesterday. Prayers and sermons at all hours of the day, and since there are at least 3 mosques in a mile radius of our house, it’s like they’re competing with each other for who is louder. General cacophony. At 6 in the morning!! Sweet baby Buddah help me get some sleep the next two days.
Oh, and one more traditional Kurdish Jazhn custom that I would’ve loved as a kid – adults give children money for Jazhn/Eid. It’s like Korean New Years, otherwise known as the day you get all your allowance for the next year in red envelopes.
So despite my original plan for staying in bed in my jammies all day (a standard Friday), I decided I wanted to experience Eid, or Jazhn. That meant getting up at 6.30 to go have breakfast at 7 at a friend’s home. I say breakfast, but what I mean is a FEAST. Kurdish style. And feast we did.
A traditional Kurdish dish made for Jazhn is stewed apricots – SO.RIDICULOUSLY.GOOD. Can every day be Jazhn, just so I can eat stewed apricots? (Somehow, stewed doesn’t sound nearly as good as poached. I want to call them poached apricots, even though I know they’re actually stewed. So from now on, I’m going to refer to them as poached apricots).
Poached ok, stewed apricots. Mmmmmm.
And what do you know?! My favorite student, Rasty, is my friend’s son! Well, really my boss’s friend, but I guess I can call him my friend too. So I was super excited to be having breakfast with Rasty. I pinched his chubby little cheeks, and made him pose for pictures.
His sisters are pretty cute too.
And when I got home – at 9am – a few of my students were waiting for me at the front door to wish me a
happy blessed Jazhn! They’re the best.
Because of the early start to the day, I was able to squeeze in a nap before noon (BEST thing ever), read a little, make some wine, kind of rock climb, take sunset yoga photographs, teach English grammar, and learn Kurdish. The wine-making was especially fun – and maybe a little subversive on this religious holiday? Naahh. To each their own.