Our teacher called us last night at about 8:30pm and asked if we would be up to having our final exam this morning. Thankfully it was just our reading class exam and all of the answers were right there on the test page for us. I feel a 99% coming on baby.
Happy New Year
Happy 2007. It is hard to believe that this is the third New Years I have celebrated out here. This year the general celebration of the New Year was very much over shadowed by Korban festival, but my friends and I still had a good time. I hope you did too. I also hope that this New Year will be a great one of growth for you, I know that is my hope for myself I want to grow not only in knowledge of local language and culture, but also in personal maturity.
The Colour of Forgiveness
It has been more than 40 days since I wrote about all my rules for eating food in a Uyghur home over a holiday. You can tell how many days since we have already come to the next major Uyghur Holiday. Just 40 days after Muslims celebrate the end of the fast they have the day of blood. This is the holiday that remembers the sacrifice that Abraham almost made of his son Ishmael. It is said that at the last moment God saw Abraham's faithfulness and sent a lamb down from heaven. Each year Muslims around the world sacrifice a lamb in memory of this event. But the lamb is meant to be more than just a memory. It is a means to receiving forgiveness.
Reading the koran over the the Lamb
This year I got up early in the morning on the 31st and went down to one of the biggest mosques in town. If there is one call to prayer a Uyhgur would not dare to miss all year, this is the one. By 8 in the morning the street had to be closed down since there were so many men gathered around with their prayer rugs. We stood on the overpass near by and were amazed at the colourful patchwork their prayer rugs made all laid next to each other. Off to every side there were herders selling sheep to be sacrificed. So much for being with our blemish or spot, each sheep was marked by their owners so they would know which ones were theirs to sell.
Later in the day I walked around the neighbourhood and witnessed the number of sheep hanging from the trees as their blood spilled to the ground. Soon the black snow was covered with blood, and sheep parts. Amazingly enough three days later the black snow was covered over by a fresh white clean layer of snow- now if that doesn’t ring with the colour of forgiveness, nothing does. As I walked about that afternoon I stopped to talk to the women who were outside. I asked many questions about the holiday and about sacrifices in general. I learnt a lot about there thinking and was even able to share some of my own. It was interesting having both the biggest western holiday and the biggest Muslim holiday in the same week. It has been a week to reflect on birth and death of giving and sacrifice.
We think we gain weight in the west over Christmas, I have no hope. This week will be filled with going to visit local friends in their homes. At each home the freshly slain lamb meat will have been boiled and be sitting on the table to eat. It is impossible to leave a home without eating a lot of meat (or in most cases a lot of lamb fat). Oh well, I guess I will just have to revisit my own eating rules I wrote about in October.