Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!! (iranian/arab style)

It was always a challenge trying to live the normal American lifestyle while mixing it in with our culture and religion. I think my parents did a really good job at letting us know where we came from but at the same time not letting us feel out of place in a country where we were the minority.

Because of this necessity to mold, Christmas was always a weird/amazing time in our house. Each year we would have a Christmas tree, have the traditional meal, and exchange gifts.. but with a Middle Eastern twist.

When we were young my uncle used to dress up as Santa and come to our house, we always felt soo special because we were allowed to stay up and meet him while the other kids had to sleep in order for him to come. Instead of waving a bell our Santa/uncle brought belly dancing noise makers (the things belly dancers hold and shake while dancing).. as we got older we noticed that Santa’s noise makers were the same that my uncle kept in his house, Santa never came again….

Later on as we got old enough to understand, my mom tried to tell us that Christmas was not for us since we are Muslim.. we didn’t take to the idea very well so we compromised, instead of just having a star on top of our tree my mom taped a cardboard cutout of a crescent moon to go next to it (the Islamic symbol: Star and crescent) .. it worked.. we were all satisfied..

There was one Christmas where my mom actually ALMOST won and tried to convince us not to have a tree.. a few days before Christmas my dad and I cracked and we went to a local store and bought all the ornaments we could find and decorated our house plant. I think that was our best Christmas tree ever!

I remember my last Christmas when I was living in America. I had my own apartment with my own Christmas tree.. standing right in front of my Allah signs on the wall.. a beautiful contradiction..

(Notice the tree and Islamic sign behind me)

There is no Christmas for me in Jordan this year.. this is the first time in my life that I will not celebrate it.. I would give anything to b with my family right now and I would let my mom win this year.. I wouldn’t put up the tree.. as long as there were still presents and the traditional meal involved..

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