Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sham el-Nessim

Monday we celebrated a holiday here called Sham el-Nessim. It is always the Monday following Easter and the name means, "the smelling of spring." Or something like that.

One of our first smells of the day was this herd of goats being driven by as we waited out front of Ibrahim's house.

They had prepared a lunch for us and were taking us to al-Azhar Park to celebrate like the locals. Getting access to the park was interesting as we herded like the goats through the gate with hundreds of others searching for the perfect spot. Thankfully the park is huge, so once we got in, we could relax and enjoy the smell. So we settled on a little grassy spot in the park and ate.

I guess that a traditional thing to eat on this day is fesikh or ringa, which Ibrahim described best as "bad fish." I guess they put it in a box to ferment for a year, and then eat it raw on this day. Needless to say, we didn't participate in that custom. Here is a woman tearing the head off hers and, well you know. I don't know about you, but that is definitely NOT the smell of spring I like.

The kids played at the park for awhile until it got too warm. There were hundreds of kids at the park and we were one of two strollers that I saw. They just don't use them here, probably because the roads are not stroller-friendly. Once again, the children loved Maya and Ethen.

We were grateful to Ibrahim and Fatma for planning this day out for us.

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