While the UAE is an Islamic country, people are free to practice their religion of choice. Islamic holidays are the official holidays and recently we've been given days off for Eid and this weekend for Hirji, which is Islamic new year. I must admit, I was fairly ignorant about Islam before moving here, I knew about Ramadan but that was about it.
Whilst other holidays aren't officially celebrated, they are nonetheless celebrated with gusto.
A few weeks ago, Halloween took over the stores here, there were decorations and displays. If you didn't know better you'd have thought you were in the good old US of A. Last week, people were celebrating Guy Fawkes Night. On the weekend, the supermarket had displays for Diwali (the biggest Hindu festival of the year) as well as American Thanksgiving. This week, I popped into IKEA and it looked like Rudolph has vomited all over the place – there were trees, wreaths and baubles galore.
For every holiday, the kids' school decorate their entrance way and incorporate the holiday into their learning. Yesterday there were flowers and lights for Diwali, a few weeks ago there was a massive display for Eid. I love that the girls are getting such a broad insight into other cultures and religions. Hell, I love that I'm getting this insight too.
It's not just the schools, yesterday even Skip's work brought in a feast of Indian food served by waiters for all the staff to celebrate Diwali. Last night, feeling a little poorly, I went to bed early, but I could hear the Diwali fireworks and could smell the heady scent of incense and smiled.
I think Skip is hoping that there'll be schooners and 2-up on ANZAC Day, somehow I think that will be pushing it!
In any case, I can't wait to discover what we'll be celebrating next week!
|Goosey's Diwali creation.|