Tag Archive | culture

Egyptian Culture, Part 7: Eid al Adha Celebration

Butchering a Cow for Eid al Adha in Egypt by Aisha Abdelhamid

In Egypt, Eid celebrations mark the start of national week-long vacations. Most work grinds to a halt, many stores are shuttered, streets have far less traffic, and fireworks sporadically light up the night skies. More weddings are scheduled for the festive time of eid than any other time of the year, as well.

Every year during Eid al Adha in Egypt and all over the world, Muslims practice “Qurbani.” This is the ritual sacrifice of animals, in commemoration of Prophet Abraham’s willingness to obey God’s command. To non-muslims, it may seem strange to learn that this ritual is a rich and beautiful expression of God’s mercy. Can the ritual sacrifice of animals in the streets generate an environment of peace? Yet, this is exactly the case during the Muslim Eid al Adha. Whole communities become visibly enveloped in a unified outpouring of celebration and generosity.

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Egyptian Culture, Part 6: Water, Water, Everywhere

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Clay Water Jugs On A Wire Rack Attached To A Pole

In Egypt, and the Islamic world in general, water has a special importance due to the need to ritually cleanse with water prior to prayer. Praying five times a day makes the presence of water more than just a convenience, it becomes a necessity to ensure a steady, clean supply for the community. Before indoor plumbing became more common around the world, water was drawn from cisterns, wells and fountains. It was during the Ottoman Empire that drinking water fountains in Egypt became commonly installed for the public, usually as a charity offered by the wealthier citizens of the community. These public water fountains often formed the hub around which sprang up mosques, schools, libraries and hospitals.
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Egyptian Culture, Part 5: Lady Chicken Vendors

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In Egypt, "Women Are 50% Of The Community"


In Egypt, “Women are 50% of the community.” This is a famous Arabic saying here, and its popularity is a strong proof of the respect paid to women in this country. In general, Egyptians are a conservative people with strong emphasis on marriage and family. Mothers are heavily relied upon to shoulder the burdens of childbearing and rearing, while fathers are typically the economic providers.  Commercialized day care is not an option for most families, being a luxury available in only select locations of a very few major cities. Under these circumstances, it is surprising to learn that approximately one fourth of the paid workforce in Egypt is female. Let’s take a closer look at female employment in Egyptian communities.

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Egyptian Culture, Part 4: Powdered Sugar Mustaches

Hospitality is every Egyptian’s middle name. I swear I’ve been lifted to an unbelievable level of good manners here, and I’m enjoying it much more, now that I’m getting used to it. Our first year back, we lived in our city apartment. All of my husband’s huge social circle beat a path to our door, welcoming him home and greeting his new foreign wife. I cringed whenever the doorbell rang, but now it’s getting easier, as I’m learning the rules guiding everyone’s behavior. For example, Islam encourages nicer replies to any greetings received, and often this inspires beautiful rounds of compliments and blessings. It’s lovely, but so much sugar is rich for my etiquette-challenged blood. There are huge numbers of correct responses to correct greetings. Also, speaking to different classes of people requires an unending variety of appropriate titles to address your guests, particularly in gatherings with people whose names are found (or needed) in your contact list!

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Egyptian Culture, Part 3: Don’t Forget Yourself


In Egypt, “Who you know,” not “what you know,” is paramount. People move the system, not technology. Social protocol and etiquette opens Egyptian doors, just by minding your manners, never forgetting yourself, and never crossing your boss. The “Good Old Boy Network” is a well-connected web, where successful social climbers are celebrated like heroes. If you forget this, you’ll soon be driving a tuk tuk, or it’s back to Grandpa’s village and the potato field for you!
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Egyptian Culture, Part 2: Carry Cash

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Egypt is a cash based society. Credit cards are for foreign tourists and the privileged few. Take three steps off the tourist circuit in any direction and you’ll find yourself in a completely different culture. If you get lost, hurt, or hungry, you better be carrying cash. The vast majority of Egyptians have never seen a credit card in their life, and probably half the population will live all their life without ever entering a bank. Cash is King in Egypt.
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My Expat-Blog.com Interview

Recently I discovered a wonderful website, http://www.expat-blog.com for expats of every nationality. It’s a huge website with a wide range of helpful services and attractive forums. They really go the full distance to serve the interests of expats. My interview with them just went live yesterday, and I think that’s especially nice because yesterday was my birthday!

You can read the full interview here, with more photos, and you can also find it online at:
http://www.expat-blog.com/en/interview/147_aisha-in-aga.html

Why did you decide to move to Egypt?

I am an American woman who flushed twenty years of marriage to a mean, drunk, ‘wasp’ in favor of an incredibly interesting and loving Egyptian man I met online. He insisted to me by email that, “Sometimes, reality is more wonderful than any dream,” and I was so ripe for the picking, I fell directly into his hand. It’s been a joyride ever since! He moved to America with me, and we built a life, a house and a farm together in rural South Carolina, and then we packed as much of it as we could fit into a 20 ft. container and shipped it all to Egypt, where we are now building another life, another home, and, thankfully, our 5-story chicken farm here is already up and running!

How was the moving process?

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It was hilarious! The floor level of a shipping container is four feet off the ground, and the truck comes with no magic wand to get your stuff up in there. It does, however, come with a ticking meter way more expensive than any taxi cab, and you must get your stuff up in there within two hours or they start charging by the minute! I had pre-packed everything into a room of our guest house that was roughly similar dimensions as the shipping container, hoping to speed things up. We also had a neighbor with a farm tractor, and he was kind enough to put the fork lift attachments on the tractor, and offered to lift the boxes up to the truck.
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Ep.1 – My First Cup of Tea in the Oasis

(Episode 1: JOYRIDE TO EGYPT)

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My last glimpse of reality was three days prior, July 27, 1999, at 3 a.m.

I had been soaking in my hot tub on the patio of my condo, trying to soothe my jumpy nerves.

Now I sat reflecting on that lovely moment of 3 a.m. bliss. It was summer, the night was a cozy dark blanket between me and the rest of the world. My kids were asleep, our bags were packed and stuffed in the car. We were ready for our 5 a.m. exodus from reality.

My children thought we were going to see the pyramids.

I was soaking in my hot tub as a kind of ritual cleansing. I wanted to wash my old life off and start my new life fresh and clean. My whole family thought I was crazy. One of my brothers had tried had to dissuade me, even threatening to tear up my travel documents to “protect” me and my kids. My mom was so upset that at the last minute she refused to let me park my car at her house and would not give us a ride to Newark International Airport as we had earlier planned. I was already a nervous wreck, and this new thought of paying for half a month of parking at an airport added another heavy burden in my baggage.

I leaned back in the hot water, eyes closed, and played “on the one hand” and “on the other hand” one more time. The result was always the same, always exciting to the point of shivering, even in a bubbling hot tub. Maybe I was crazy, but I knew I was going to do it.

I was going to Egypt to marry a man I met on the internet.

I had never laid eyes on him, and it was all arranged. Within 24 hours of our first meeting, I would be his wife. Signed, sealed and delivered.

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Welcome to Aisha’s Oasis

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Ahlan wa Sahlan – Welcome to my little slice of Egyptian Life! 
I’m an American woman who flushed twenty years of marriage to a mean, drunk, ‘wasp’ (White Anglosaxon Protestant) in favor of an incredibly loving Egyptian Muslim man I met online. I had been divorced for two years and was learning about Islam on the internet. When I cried to Allah to make me Muslim, I also cried to Him for a wonderful Muslim husband. Allah answered both prayers, alhamdulillah! When Allah put my feet on the path of Islam, three steps later He put my husband-to-be’s ad for a wife in front of my eyes. In our email correspondence, Mohamed said to me, “Sometimes reality is more wonderful than any dream,” and I was so ripe for the picking, I fell directly into his hand. It’s been a joyride ever since! I married him in Egypt after only 50 days of correspondence, and less than 24 hours after our first actual meeting. I’m using my binders of printed emails as posts, so readers can watch the story unfold just as I did, and enjoy the whirlwind excitement of an internet romance that went right. Very right!

Continue reading for more introduction to “Aisha’s Oasis,” and to reach the complete Table of Contents, below. If you’ve already read this you can quickly jump to anywhere by clicking on a category from the menu bar, above, or from the sidebar on the right to enjoy the Places in my Oasis.

Additionally, you can Click Here to Jump to my Latest Post Or Click Here to Jump Directly to the Table of Contents

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Aisha & Mohamed Are Here!

Simultaneously, I’m sharing posts of what daily life is like for me in Egypt. You’ll find love poems and recipes, and photos of my gardening, photos of the birds, my neighbors, their animals, and all the petty drama that erupts around here, as well as shortstories and artwork, and pictures of the jewelry I love to create.

I guess this is my legacy – an attempt at a self-induced vulcan mind meld into the archives of wordpress.com because I don’t want to die without unloading it somewhere! It’s been a very exciting ride! If you’d like to believe me, start here:
My First Cup of Tea in the Oasis https://aishasoasis.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/my-first-cup-of-tea-in-the-oasis/
;^)


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

EGYPT – AISHA’S JOYRIDE TO EGYPT:

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My 1st Cup Of Tea In The Oasis


Episode 1: My First Cup of Tea in the Oasis (Dec. 09, 2013)

Ep. 2: Breaking the News to my Father (Dec. 11, 2013)

Ep. 3: Seeking Wife To Be Love & Friend (Dec. 31, 2013)

Ep. 4: Salam wa Smiles, 40 years old, 5′ 5″ (Jan. 5, 2014)

Ep. 5: I’ve Got Mail! (Jan. 10, 2014)

Ep. 6: From A Mermaid Princess Named Scheherazade (Jan. 18, 2014)

Ep. 7: Oh Please Pinch Me (Jan. 23, 2014)

Ep. 8: Twenty Questions (Jan. 29, 2014)

Ep. 9: “Slow Down!” (Feb. 8, 2014)

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My Turn To Dance

Ep. 10: My Turn To Dance (Feb. 20, 2014)

Ep. 11: Did I Say Something Wrong? (Mar. 11, 2014)

Ep. 12: Are We Only Dreaming? (Mar. 25, 2014)

Ep. 13: Difficult Answers (Apr. 14, 2014)

Ep. 14: Our Hearts Are Tied (May 06, 2014)

Ep. 15: A Love Letter To Die For (Jun 11, 2014)

Ep. 16: Like A Runaway Train (Jul 21, 2014)

Ep. 17: French Chocolate English (Sept 13, 2014)

Ep. 18: The Transient Life of a Leaf (Mar 15, 2015)

EGYPT – DAILY LIFE:

Poem: Oh Cairo (Dec. 07, 2013)

Poem: Oh Cairo, Chapter 2 (Dec. 07, 2013)

Photo Poem: Oh Cairo, Chapter 2, Photo 1 of 10 (Feb. 18, 2014)

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Rooftop Flowering Veggies

Photo Poem: Oh Cairo, Chapter 2, Photo 2 of 10 (Mar. 01, 2014)

Photo Poem: Oh Cairo, Chapter 2, Photo 9 of 10 (Mar. 07, 2014)

Photo Poem: Leaving The Market (Aug 27, 2014)

Photo Poem: Doing The Dishes (Oct. 02, 2014)

Rooftop Gardening (Dec. 08, 2013)

Rooftop Gardening: Our First Tomato! (Mar. 16, 2014)

Rooftop Gardening: Flowering Vegetables (May 02, 2014)

Rooftop Gardening: Rebooting The Tomatoes (June 28, 2014)

Egyptian Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dec. 23, 2013)

Turning Sugarcane Into Juice (Jan. 2, 2014)

EGYPT – DAILY LIFE – AISHA’S EGYPT:

Let’s Take A Ride! (Mar. 18, 2014)

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Mizmar-izing Music

Little Shepherd Boy (Mar. 28, 2014)

Mizmar-izing Music (Apr. 18, 2014)

11 Little Secrets and a Liebster (Apr. 26, 2014)

A Kiss From The World (May 10, 2014)

A Very Versatile Goat (May 27, 2014)

Watermelon Pyramids (Aug 14, 2014)

The Olive & Pickle Vendor (Sept 20, 2014)

The Ice Cream Man (Oct. 27, 2014)

A Heavily Loaded Horsecart (Dec 10, 2014)

French Fry Farmers (Mar 01, 2015)

Duck Market Day (Apr 12, 2015)

EGYPT – DAILY LIFE – BIRDS OF EGYPT:

“Cleopatra:” The Green Bee-Eater (Jan. 08, 2014)

“Hud Hud:” The Hoopoe (Jan 13, 2014)

“Fairuz:” The Collared Kingfisher (Jan. 26, 2014)

“Um Uway’e:” The Little Owl (Feb. 6, 2014)

“Abu Maghazil:” The Spur-Winged Lapwing (Feb. 16, 2014)

EGYPT – DAILY LIFE – ESSAYS:

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Lady Chicken Vendors

Egyptian Culture, Part 1: Islam and Sharia Law (Feb. 2, 2014)

Egyptian Culture, Part 2: Carry Cash (Feb. 9, 2014)

Egyptian Culture, Part 3: Don’t Forget Yourself (Feb. 24, 2014)

Egyptian Culture, Part 4: Powdered Sugar Mustaches (March 03, 2014)

Egyptian Culture, Part 5: Lady Chicken Vendors (May 22, 2014)

Egyptian Culture, Part 6: Water, Water Everywhere (Jun 06, 2014)

Eguptian Culture, Part 7: Eid al Adha Celebration (Oct. 11, 2014)

EGYPT – DAILY LIFE – PHOTOS:

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Fun Foto 2-Tone Roses


Egyptian Fun Foto: Bicycle and Bananas (Mar. 06, 2014)

Egyptian Fun Foto: Rooftop Roses (Mar. 14, 2014)

EGYPT – WONDERFUL REBLOGS:

What a Bazaar Day, by Wandering Soles (Dec. 08, 2013)

GARDENING:

Rooftop Gardening (Dec. 08, 2013)

Rooftop Gardening: Our First Tomato! (Mar. 16, 2014)

Rooftop Gardening: Flowering Vegetables (May 02, 2014)

Rooftop Gardening: Rebooting The Tomatoes (June 28, 2014)

What To Do With A Ripe Papaya (Dec. 20, 2013)

JEWELRY:

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Time Is A Patient Spectator

Handmade Bracelets (Dec. 06, 2013)

Beachglass Jewelry Set with Matching Poem (Jan. 20, 2014)

PHOTO GALLERIES:

Photo Gallery #1 (Dec. 05 – 18, 2013)

POETRY & PROSE – POEMS:

Speak To Me In Kisses (Dec. 07, 2013)

Breaking Fast After Six Days Of Shawwal (Dec. 07, 2013)

Oh Cairo (Dec. 07, 2013)

Oh Cairo, Chapter 2 (Dec. 07, 2013)

Photo Poem: Oh Cairo, Chapter 2, Photo 1 of 10 (Feb. 18, 2014)

Photo Poem: Oh Cairo, Chapter 2, Photo 2 of 10 (Mar. 01, 2014)

Photo Poem: Oh Cairo, Chapter 2, Photo 9 of 10 (Mar. 07, 2014)

Time Is A Patient Spectator (Jan. 15, 2015)

Combing The Beach In Winter (Jan. 20, 2014)

“Damn Cold Day!” (Jan. 27, 2014)

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I will Always Look Up To You


“There Was A Time When Things Were Different” (Feb. 3, 2014)

No One Could Ever Know (Feb. 10, 2014)

“Don’t Blame The Sinner” (Feb. 17, 2014)

Notorious Little Girl (Feb. 25, 2015)

Photo Poem: Brick And Mortar Outhouse (Mar. 02, 2014)

Photo Poem: I’ll Always Look Up To You (Mar. 27, 2014)

Poem: “Life Journey” – A Collaboration With Zara (Jul 12, 2014)

Photo Poem: The First Thing I Notice (Jul. 31, 2014)

Photo Poem: Leaving The Market (Aug 27, 2014)

Photo Poem: Doing The Dishes (Oct. 02, 2014)

Blog Action Day on Inequality, Oct. 16, 2014 – Poem: “She Was Born In The Respite Between Intifadas”

POETRY & PROSE – PHOTO QUOTES:

The Nest In Rumi’s Rose Garden (Jul. 06, 2014)

POETRY & PROSE – MY ARTICLES FOR EDENKEEPER.ORG:

Egypt Illuminates Ancient Alleyways With Solar Light (June 20, 2014)

Rumi: Behind The Beauty Of The Moon Is The MoonMaker (Jul. 06, 2014)

The Donkey: Egypt’s Green Machine (Aug 30, 2014)

POETRY & PROSE – SHATOETRY VIDEOS WITH WILLIAM SHATNER RECITING MY POEMS:

The Clouds Carry Embers Of Decaying Memories (Dec. 06, 2013)

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What To Do With A Ripe Papaya

The Moon Above Our Steps In The Snow (Dec. 07, 2013)

Peace Is A Time Traveler (Dec. 29, 2013)

POETRY & PROSE – SUPERSHORT STORIES:

I Have A Cold Already!  (Dec. 07, 2013)

RECIPES WITH PICTURES:

Young Pigeon (Squab) Stuffed With Rice.  (Dec. 08, 2013)

What To Do With A Ripe Papaya (Dec. 20, 2013)

Egyptian Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dec. 23, 2013)

Turning Sugarcane Into Juice (Jan. 2, 2014)

The Olive & Pickle Vendor – DIY Olive Brining Recipe (Sept 20, 2014)

RESEARCH:

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Saladin And The Crusades

Saladin And The Crusades from Lane-Poole, Preface, Contents, and Tables of Illustrations (Dec. 20, 2013)

Saladin and The Crusades from Lane-Poole, Part I, Introductory & Chapter I (Dec. 26, 2013)

Saladin and The Crusades from Lane-Poole, Part I, Chapter II (Jan. 2, 2014)

Saladin and The Crusades from Lane-Poole, Part I, Chapter III (Jan. 09, 2014)

Saladin and The Crusades from Lane-Poole, Part I, Chapter IV (Jan. 17, 2014)

Saladin and The Crusades, Part II, Chapter V (Jan. 22, 2014)

Saladin and The Crusades, Part II, Chapter VI (Feb. 04, 2014)

Saladin and The Crusades, Part II, Chapter VII (Feb. 13, 2014)

Saladin and The Crusades, Part II, Chapter VIII (Feb. 27, 2014)

Saladin and The Crusades, Part III, Chapter IX (Mar. 20, 2014)

Saladin and The Crusades, Part III, Chapter X (Apr. 05, 2014)

Saladin and The Crusades, Part III, Chapter XI (Apr. 24, 2014)

Saladin and The Crusades, Part III, Chapter XII (Jun 02, 2014)

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My Official Bio Blurb

Saladin and the Crusades, Part IV, Chapter XIII (Jul. 04, 2014)

Saladin and The Crusades, Part IV, Chapter XIV (Aug 21, 2014)

Saladin and The Crusades, Part IV, Chapter XV (Nov 23, 2014)

Saladin and The Crusades, Part IV, Chapter XVI (Apr 24, 2015)

THE DPCHALLENGES:

Multimedia Storytelling – Ep. 2, Joyride to Egypt: Breaking The News To My Father (Dec. 11, 2013)

ABOUT

My Official Bio Blurb

Random facts about me, and my Blog Awards

My Interview on Expat-Blog.Com

My Guest Post on LetMeReach.com with Kim Saeed, “A Light Entered My Cocoon”

Excellent Reblog from Ms. Muslamic on what it’s like to be a White Muslim woman (Feb. 1, 2014)

Reblog from A Broads View: 7 Lies We Need To Stop Telling About Women Who Wear Hijabs (June 24, 2014)

… More to come! Don’t forget to hit the FOLLOW button!

;^)

hit Refresh to display this! Click here for the original photo of this oasis by Taguelmoust on wikimedia.org

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