Friday, January 25, 2013

Christmas in Iraqi Kurdistan

Just before Christmas I received an e-mail from a friend wishing me a Merry Christmas and gently chastising me for not having blogged more since I've been in Iraq. I've just looked back and was surprised to find that I had actually managed to blog no less than five times since I've been here. Honestly, I was surprised. I was certain I hadn't even managed that much.

I had promised to makes some posts over the Christmas break since I would have ample time to sit and do nothing, which I then did not (more on that later). But now that I've been sitting at home with bronchitis for three days and I have the weekend ahead of me during which I do not plan to go out at all, I thought I may as well give it a shot. (In reality, I've already watched everything on TV at least once and I'm a bit over it...).

So I thought what better than to back track a bit and discuss my Christmas in Iraq. 

As you all know, I'm a Thanksgiving person, really, but I don't shun Christmas as long as those celebrating have their heart in the right place. I enjoy the holiday festivities and I'll certainly never turn down an excuse to make a badass meal.

Oh by the way I have a boyfriend...

This year was no different, even despite being in the Middle East. 

In fact, here in Ainkawa, we had the tallest Christmas tree in the Middle East. I bet you weren't expecting that, eh?

The only picture I can find of the Big Tree.

It said "Merry Christmas" in English, Kurdish, Arabic and Assyrian.
It also wasn't the only super tall, out-in-the-open Christmas tree in the area. There were plenty of them.

Much like Eastern Europe, Christians here celebrate their Christmas on Dec. 24th rather than on Christmas Day. However, my friends and I decided to continue to celebrate on our usual Dec. 25th. 

I made desserts and my Jamaican-Floridian flatmate made us a Jamaican-style dinner. 

Then the night turned into the usual party. Honestly, there wasn't much to it. The only reason I'd really call it Christmas was that I had put up decorations (i.e. We had a Christmas tree and some lights strewn up on the balcony...) 

It was a rather modest Christmas tree.
There weren't really any gifts (unless you count the alcohol people brought or the pork I was given, which I certainly do), but it was rather informal as a Christmas among friends tends to be. Still, it helped take the sting out of what could have been a really sad, lonely, boring day without my family around.

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