Saturday, February 12, 2011

Birthday Party

Yesterday Drew and I experienced our first Tajik birthday party and it was a first birthday party as well!  The granddaughter at our house, I'll call her Sara, turned one yesterday.  Turning one is a big deal here and the family pulled out all the stops for their family and friends.  It was really good for us because it gave us our first chance to get involved as more than guests, which was great.  We even got to look after Sara for a little while in the afternoon while her mom, Melissa, worked on getting things ready.  We also helped set up some and clean up as well.  

On the other hand we had lots of time to observe culture and how things are done here, which was really valuable.  It's wasn't that great for language learning or practice just because there were so many people around but it was still a great experience.  We had wonderful food as well, which always makes a party better!

The night ended with me helping Melissa wash, dry and put up all the fancy dishes they used for the 40-50 people who were here.  No dishwasher for us!  Having to do all that work means plenty of time for chatting though, which is always a blessing.

Here's a list of some things that I noticed culturally:

  • The birthday girl had two new outfits she wore and she got a new pair of earrings for the occasion- gold hoops.
  • The men and the women ate in different rooms and Sara when back and forth between the rooms.
  • We had more food and drinks than we could have ever imagined and it just kept coming throughout the night.
  • The oldest woman in our room prayed two blessings over us.
  • All the guests were told to "eat" and "take" as much as Drew and I have been, which made me feel a whole lot better.
  • People didn't bring gifts and if they did it wasn't a big deal.
  • Sara didn't have any cake and the cakes weren't decorated especially for her.
  • Drew said only the dad's friends were in their room, his family members ate in the kitchen.
  • When some of the girls tried to leave the family insisted they stay and eat more and they sat back down and ate more.
  • When someone older comes in the room everyone stands up to honor him/her.
  • Melissa rocked Sara to sleep in the room with all the ladies and the music playing and she slept through it all!

Here are some pics.  Enjoy!

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