Tonight we participated in a Ramadan feast put on by Ayman, our Arabic teacher! The food was so incredible! There was a lot of thyme, mint, parsley and garlic. My favorite was the steamed carrots hollowed out and stuffed with seasoned rice. Mm mm good. Of course we had amazing hummus and pita to polish it all off.
Ayman invited a father and son who do the call to prayer in one of the Jerusalem mosques. Call to prayer usually lasts about ten minutes and it is just a solo singer amplified to the whole neighborhood that it is time to pray. There are five prayers a day and each call to prayer has different words. The one at four in the morning (who needs a rooster?) says, "Prayer is better than sleep." How dedicated are they to stinking get up in the middle of the night to pray! Yet another thing to admire about the people here.
The duty to sing the call to prayer is passed down through the family and it has been the privilege of this family for more than five-hundred and fifty years! The sons start learning when they are so young: six or seven. The son that came (now in his twenties) had the whole qu'uran memorized by the age of nine! They don't take lessons. They believe that singing is a gift from God and it comes naturally to those who have it. These men definitely have a gift: it was beautiful!
The call to prayer is sung from minarets, like this one.
Every mosque has one.
After dinner was dancing! Four young Palestinians came in traditional garb and demonstrated to us after which we learned the dance. It was outrageously fun! Most of the dances were circle and line dances but at the end we all just broke out in spontaneous joyful movement (shout out to Mom...).
Left to right: Fatima, Ashley, Naima, Muhammad, Me, Faisar and Lizzie
What is it about music and dancing that brings people together? It's fascinating and so wonderful. Ana boheb al rokossa! I love to dance!