This week included a day off! Yesterday (October 1st) was Teachers' Day in Uzbekistan, a national holiday, and most places of work give their employees the day off. It strikes me as a very good idea - a day to celebrate teachers and all they do for the kids of the world! Every country should have a Teachers' Day.
This year, though, Teachers' Day fell on the last day of a holy month in the Muslim world - I'm not sure it'd be respectful to write much about it and don't want to offend. However, I'd like to share what I've discovered about this holy month. First, it is celebrated by all Muslims around the world and it is a very important month with fasting and other traditions, including a big feast day at the end. This year, that date fell on Teachers' Day - probably a very handy coincidence!
But it was probably a little less than 100% coincidence. This holy month falls at dramatically different times of the year because it is scheduled according to a lunar calendar. In fact, I am informed that last year, this holy time happened in or around December, two whole months away from this year's occurance! I am also told that the dates of this holy month of observance are not actually announced until sometimes just a month beforehand - and it seems to often be scheduled with some sort of sensitivity to other events such as other holidays. This year, for example, in Uzbekistan, the last day (the feast day) fell on Oct 1 which was also Teachers Day - however, in other Muslim nations, the last day (the feast day) fell on Tuesday September 30. So there seems to be a little bit of flexibility.
There are some traditions that I observed that are very touching and sweet. For example, it is traditional to go pay a courtesy visit to those households in your circle of friends and family that have lost a member of their family in the previous year; condolences are expressed, and it's a chance for people to connect and grieve together. This strikes me as a very sensitive and wonderful tradition. Sad, but wonderful.
So far, no more earthquakes - fingers crossed!
Sleepless in Tashkent