Saturday, 27 October 2012

Kurban Bajram 2012 in Bosnia!

Our home-made baklava ... sooo good!
Yesterday marked the second instalment of this year's Bajram, and I can comfortably say - albeit 4,000 baklava slices later - that it was another extremely enjoyable occasion.

This particular holiday is known locally as Kurban Bajram, meaning the 'Festival of Sacrifice', which, as I have previously told you, is due to the Islamic belief that Ibrahim (Abraham) was ready to sacrifice his son to God.

The day began much like the previous Bajram holiday - which, actually, was only 2 months and 7 days prior - with thousands of Muslim men (even those who don't attend on any other day of the year) from across Zenica flocking to the mosques for morning prayer.

(I was intending on travelling down to the local mosque to take some of my own photos of the crowds, but a lack of sleep combined with freezing weather made me decide to simply opt for the professional photos used by local media outlets!)

As is tradition, whilst the men were present at the morning prayer, the women of each household were busy preparing a morning meal to be consumed by all when the men arrived home.
Once again, thousands packed several of Zenica's mosques -
even ending up on public squares and streets outside.
(Source: ZenicaBlog)

At our apartment, my partner and her mother made a delicious burek, along with some other foods and salads, and it was simply fantastic. After an early 7am wake-up, a good feed was just what I needed! (Mind you, I did head back to bed for an hour-long snooze afterwards!)

Once the afternoon came, it was time to visit other sections of the family. So, as is tradition for Bajram in this part of the world, we kitted up in some new, fancy clothes, and headed to the beautiful family house which is situated atop one of Zenica's hills.

For several hours we joked around, ate ridiculous amounts of food, smoked cigarettes (not me, mum!), and listened to various styles of Bosnian folk music.

Time flew by and, before I knew it, it started to become dark outside, thus; it was time to head home.

However, once we arrived back at our apartment, we did not have long to relax, as it was once again time to head out; this time, to a home of family friend's.

Kitted up in my (admittedly unusual) attire
for the day. Mind the bits of rubbish around
me; fair to say I didn't notice it at the time!
As had occurred in the afternoon, we all sat together for hours and drank coffee, ate (again, it was heaps), joked around, and, to be frank, just had a really fantastic time.

Upon reflection, the whole Bajram day revolved around togetherness and catching up with people of whom we don't often have the chance to. As my fiancé suggested to me when we were walking back home last night, 'Isn't that what this day is all about?'

For those of you back home, outside the religious beliefs upon which they are celebrating, the day really shares much commonality with the day of Christmas. (Although, sadly for some of us, there are not two celebrations of Christmas within two months of each other!)

As I said, this Bajram, along with the last, was such a fantastic experience for me, and one for which I am incredibly appreciative. Being able to first-hand witness how so many people could put aside whatever issues were going on in their lives and come to celebrate together as such really resonated with me.

Although I will do my best to try and replicate these Bajram celebrations when I return to Australia, I honestly cannot wait to experience the holiday here in Bosnia again one day.

Hopefully, when that time comes, I have worked out how to pronounce "Bajram barecula" just that little bit more fluently.

Bajram serif mubarek olsun to everyone who celebrated, and I hope your day was at least half as good as mine was!

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