Thursday, March 24, 2005

Easter in Alkosh *Part II*

Finally, Easter Sunday would come, the most joyful day of the week. In the morning it was attending mass, then we could not wait to go back home to compete and see who wins in the egg breaking/knocking game. Ok, here is my explanation for the game but I do not know if I can make it clear enough in English: it is an Easter tradition to dye boiled eggs with colors (but my grandmother would dye them red using onion peels because there were no dyes available at that time in Iraq). Then on Easter day everyone in the family would choose an egg, and if you were smart you would test them before you pick your egg to see which ones are strong. The testing would be done by lightly tapping them to your teeth to see if the egg is strong. As a kid, I remember doing this just to imitate my dad and uncle but I don’t really remember knowing how that was supposed to make me see if the egg is strong; then the competition would begin where a person would knock on somebody’s egg and whoever’s egg breaks loses. Usually, the game would end when everyone’s egg broke except for the winner.
The rest of Easter day we would spend visiting relatives’ houses wishing them Happy Easter. The way it works is that we would visit people who are older than my parents, and then people who are younger than my parents/grandparents etc. are supposed to visit us first. I must admit that as kids we didn’t enjoy these home visits much, it was too formal for us kids who just wanted to play outside. What we did enjoy though was the “aidania” which I don’t know how to translate into English, but it is when my parents, uncle, and whoever else would give us money (this is also done in Christmas-instead of the gifts tradition in the U.S.). I think I enjoyed it most not because it was money, but because it made me feel how much people around me loved me and my siblings.
Sometimes the whole big family (married aunts, uncles, etc.) would decide to go on a picnic to my grandfather’s “karma” which literally means “a grapes field” I think?!!! It was basically a big green field with all kinds of wild flowers, and I remember my aunt would weave a crown for me and my sister from the red-flowers that we collected for her from the field. The women would have prepared tons of delicious food to last us the whole day. That was heaven to us city kids; we could not get enough of this freedom of playing in such a huge field without anyone worrying about us. By the time we got home in the evening, my siblings and I would be so tired that we could barely take a shower and slip into bed.
Sure it was a simple kind of life, and I admit that I am a big-city lover, but I also enjoy escaping to this kind of simple life once a year like we did back then. It was simple, but simple is also peaceful, simple means the least number of worries and simple is what kids love!!!
Honestly, I would give anything to just have a big family gathering like that in Alkosh one more time where everyone is truly happy and not occupied with a billion things in their minds. But I think I am asking too much, and as sad as it is to admit I don’t think we will ever see these kinds of days again. Things changed, places changed, and people changed. Alkosh is no longer the same old Alkosh; it got invaded by technology and modern day demands. As much as I love technology and cannot live without it, I always wished that Alkosh would remain the same as it was. Maybe it is selfish of me to think that, but I always dream of going back to visit Alkosh and I would see it the same way I remember it, even though I know deep in my heart that it is not so.

Aaahhhh what can one do….life is always changing and we have to change with it too to adapt!!!

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