Produced by Zeynep
MA Political Psychology
Solar Calendar – Let’s Observe the Moon!
Have you ever come across the various types of calendars? The solar calendar, which is currently used in western countries, is not the only calendar system. The lunar calendar follows the monthly phases of the moon and has been used by many Asian countries in the past, including Muslim communities. Muslims follow the moon phases for determining the months, special dates like celebration dates (“eid”) and the beginning of the new year. I can say that being able to watch and observe the different phases of the moon and trying to understand the beginning of a sacred day or ending of a holy month is a quite fun, enjoyable experience for me! It also means connecting to nature and admiring the moonlight for me. Besides, Muslims have a different starting mark for the calendar: the “hijr”. The importance of this date is it is the day of the emigration of Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) from Mecca to Medina – two cities in Saudi Arabia – to escape religious persecution. As this emigration was important for the Muslim community in that time, and a new city was developed after this emigration, this date is the marking point for the calendar.
Smiling, Noah’s Ark Pudding and a lot more:
Because this date is an important date of relief and marks a new beginning, many Muslims celebrate this date instead of Christmas. Starting with the sunset of the previous date, it has different celebration types. Some Muslims choose to pray more like fasting in the first 10 dates and to do charity works. One of the activities that I like personally doing is smiling in the first ten days! Yes, smiling is a kind of worship in Islam because you can make happy someone by smiling. You can also say “hi!” to people whom you do not know yet and say “I wish you well on this occasion every year”. The aim of this is to contribute to the general well-being of your community/society. I remember that when I was a child, me and my best friend used to celebrate the new year by a party organised by my aunt. She and my mom used to buy us presents and bake cake etc and we enjoyed the new year by spending time together! The other best part for me is cooking and eating a dessert called “Ashura” (Noah’s Ark Pudding) which is known as the oldest dessert in the world, also cooked by Jews and a kind of remembrance for the days Prophet Noah and his community passed in the ark. The dessert is made of the basic ingredients you can find in a home: wheats, chickpeas, beans, rice, nuts, sugar etc., and you can be creative by adding something different if you like. The most enjoyable part is the tradition to share this dessert with your neighbours/beloved ones. Eating different kinds of recipe of our neighbours and deciding which one is our favourite – without criticising too much the other ones, of course! – is our family tradition 🙂