Mary |

Safar month is a holy month in Lunar calendar that comes once a year, and is a special month for Muslim women, especially Afghan women. Safar is celebrated only in the Muslim countries in Central Asia. It has a religious and cultural value.  Whenever a woman has a wish or desire that needs to be fulfilled, then she looks forward to this occasion and has an intent to have it. It is a gathering of relatives and friends of the woman, at her place, for one day, usually during lunch. All the women meet and have a meal. Then, they pray together for that woman’s happiness. They wish her the best and pray that she receives all the best things.
My mom also had this occasion with me. My mom and sister informed all my friends to come on a particular day and enjoy the meal. All my friends came and enjoyed a lot. I too, had  fun.
That day was such a busy one that I couldn’t even sit with my friends. I got stuck with my tasks and my friends also helped me. We cooked Shir brinj(Kheer in Hindi) and chicken sauce. We all enjoyed a lot. The entire day, people kept coming and I was busy in washing the dishes. I liked the way all the ladies came, had meal and prayed for our family’s happiness. It was one of those days which made me realize that unity brings happiness, smiles, joys and love. The meeting of all the relatives and friends put a smile on our lips and comforted our hearts.
One day, in Safar month, we had the occasion. On the other days, we had to go to other friends’ houses for the same purpose. Like this, all the women were busy for the whole month.
As this is a one month festival we got many experiences by going to others’ houses. One day when I came back from volleyball practice in morning with other friends, we decided to go together in afternoon, for having meal. On that night we had guests as well. My sister went to her friend’s house and I had to do the house work.
I was also supposed to go for having sheer brinj with friends. My mom was not letting me go because we were having guests. Yet, friends were calling and insisting me to come.  I tried to do something so that neither my mother nor my friends, get hurt.  I promised my mother to come back quickly. Then I went with my friends and had a meal in another friend’s house. Their house was full of ladies who wore beautiful clothes but I couldn’t change my clothes because there was less time.
We all had meal and talked, laughed and shared many jokes. Then I had to leave quickly, even though, my friends didn’t want me to leave. Thankfully, I had an excuse to leave. This way I got to keep both my promises by managing my work and time.
The other day was my Aunt’s occasion, and therefore another busy day for me. I worked and helped her because she couldn’t do all the tasks alone. So many ladies came, ate and went. A lady was showing her beautiful bracelet to the other ladies, that day. Everyone was asking the price and the place from where she bought it. They couldn’t stop chattering even for a second. I understood that once the ladies gather, they won’t sit quietly. I got a headache that day because I didn’t have my own friends with whom I could sit. I ended up  listening to elder ladies’ gossip.
One of the days in the Safar month, we were invited to our neighbour’s place. Six of us went together and even though there wasn’t a lot of space to sit, we managed. I ate a little and then made way for some other girls. After they finished eating, I sat once more and finished my meal.
There was little difference in the way the occasion was carried out in India compared to Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, we mostly invited our close relatives and few of our friends. Mom didn’t have many friends there. In India, she goes to English class in Bosco, Malviya Nagar and has made lots of friends, many of whom, she didn’t know before. Here, in India, we have lots of new friends, who were strangers to us in Aghanistan. However, experience says that the new ones are in no way less precious than the old ones.

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