Friday, June 27, 2008

Ramadan decorations?

Muskrat worries about being politically incorrect. Or insensitive. Or something.

Last night, I had an appointment to show my rental property to a 20-something medical student named Suleman. ... When he got out of the car,... he looked like the grown version of the male rapist from The Kite Runner (which I’d watched on DVD the night before). Dark skin; long and thick beard. He had an attractive Persian-looking wife with him whom I was afraid to look at, and his mother-in-law came. [snip]

When I showed him the washer/dryer combination, he mentioned to his mother-in-law that he saw similar machines in college in Pakistan. I’m thinking about how my condo is in the general area of town where several of the 9/11 hijackers took flying lessons and blew off steam at a strip club down the road right before the Big Flight, and I’m remembering the fact that I have a military license plate on the back of my car and an Air Force base sticker on my front windshield, and I’m thinking there’s no way this guy is going to become my tenant, because he hates me and thinks I’m an infidel and may well know that I’ve been to Iraq twice and deserve to live with Satan as penance.

Then I showed him the attic door and talked about its storage capacity, saying, “Yeah, I used to keep a bike up here, extra boxes, Christ-I mean-holiday decorations–or you know, seasonal stuff can fit up there, if you’re into that…like, you know, Ramadan…” ... I’m thinking I can’t believe I referenced Ramadan decorations and how they’d fit in the attic. I need to find a stationary object on which to bang my head like Dobby the house elf. I’m now positive that I’ve lost a potential customer and am picturing the protagonist in The Kite Runner getting the hell beat out of him and am wondering how I’d look with black eyes and no teeth.


I started to worry. When I ran the library of blessed memory, we tried really hard to be hip, sensitive, and with-it. This actually consisted of a fake Christmas tree, something or other giving homage to Kwanzaa, and what was described on the box as a Traditional Electric Chanukah Menorah? Were we slighting someone? What about Ramadan decorations? Are there any?

I googled "Ramadan decorations," and what do you know, there were lots of entries. One example:

Ramadan decorations, Jalan Ampang

That's a pretty big one, to be sure, as it seems to take up a whole city block. I'm sure there's simpler stuff out there.

I got to thinking about Jewish holiday decorations. Pretty modest, not to say unimaginative. I wonder why?

Perhaps it's because we Jews often had to get out of town on short notice, so we needed small portable decorations. Imagine lugging an 8-foot-tall artificial Christmas tree from Germany to England via Switzerland--those Alps! Even if it's collapsible it would be a real chore. We needed something we could stow easily into a backpack, along with a change of underwear and some precious stones. A menorah, a mezuzzah, a few candles, and you're good to go.

See, there's a reason for everything, if you really think about it.

17 comments:

dick stanley said...

Have you seen the Xmas decorations with the Stars of David on them? Seriously, there's a mixed marriage couple in Montana, I think it is (I can find the link if you care), who sell this stuff. Big decorative glass balls with SODs glued on them with sparkly stuff. I don't why I'm even bringing this up, except I remembered it. But maybe there's a message. Since, maybe, there's little reason to get out of town anymore, it's all going the other way, from frugal to excessive. Not to mention ecumenical.

Tat said...

..or, alternatively, if the Ramadan decorations become new hip and sufficiently popular, there will be a perfectly good reason to pack and go.

Tat said...

an aside: Miriam, please fix the link to Muskrat: there is an extra "http" in the URL.

dick stanley said...

Some places hereabouts, I assure you, Ramadan will never catch on.

That Broad said...

well, I hate to admit this, but I have never even heard of Ramadan until a few years ago, sometime after 9-11. Never. Heard. Of. It.

Still don't know what it is, or for, just know it's a muslim holiday.

muskrat said...

glad i could entertain your readers with my ignorance! thanks for your comment, and have a great july 4th weekend--a holiday we americans can all agree on how to celebrate!
-muskrat

muskrat said...

glad i could entertain your readers with my ignorance! thanks for your comment, and have a great july 4th weekend--a holiday we americans can all agree on how to celebrate!
-muskrat

miriam said...

Muskrat: I enjoyed your post very much. So you see, they COULD stow their Ramadan decorations in your attic!

Wyatt Earp said...

Oh they can stow them somewhere!

(Sorry, was that politically incorrect?)

Frank, Andrew said...

We needed something we could stow easily into a backpack, along with a change of underwear and some precious stones. A menorah, a mezuzzah, a few candles, and you're good to go.

Father Muskrat said...

Just fyi, this post has moved to

http://fathermuskrat.com/2008/10/02/who-wants-to-rent-from-an-infidel/

Anonymous said...

Ramadan is just the month that our holy book was revealed, and where we strive even harder to be closer to God :) Anyway, I highly doubt you offended the guy, we muslims are pretty used to being misunderstood!

Anonymous said...

BTW, "infidel" is not a muslim term, it has no basis in our religion or in our lives. It is an extremist term, not to be confused!

miriam said...

Anon: Thanks for your input--you seem to be a live and let live type. I hope all your co-religionists are as tolerant as you.

Iqra said...

Muslims do decorate their houses with lights and banners that say Happy Ramadan and Happy Eid (a muslim holiday), but you are right, we do not have decors that are as tall as a Christmas tree. The reason being is not that we do not want to decorate our homes,beacuse we do :) but rather it's because we believe that Ramadan is the time to be spiritually closer to our God and doing as much worship as we can.

Oh! and I found a website for Ramadan decorations: http://www.eidway.com/pages/Photo-gallery-%252d-decoration-ideas.html

hope this helps :))

miriam said...

Iqra: Thank you for your informative and enlightening comment.

Mom said...

http://craftingwithintention.blogspot.com/2010/08/ramadan-decorations.html .... our family (and the other 1.6 billion muslims around the world!) really look forward to decorating and getting ready for Ramadan every year, just like our Christian/Jewish brethren do for their holidays. Although we fast during daylight hours for the whole month, there's lots of get-togethers, special prayers, cooking and baking to do. Very busy time of year for us! The month ends with a major holiday called "Eid"... fasting ends, there's a mosque service in the morning, and the rest of the day is spent visiting family, giving gifts (especially to children) and having fun! This year, it starts in early July, and it changes every year because it is timed by the lunar calendar.