|Clockwise, from top left: Fruit cake, fried dried shrimp phyllo rolls, peanut biscuits and almond-prune cake.|
What I love most about celebrations and festivities is that they bring people together. People who otherwise wouldn't see much of each other, if at all, throughout the rest of the year. In my country, there is a long-running tradition of opening up our houses to family, friends and yes, even strangers during the first few days of any festivity - be it Eid, Christmas or Chinese New Year. While this "Open House" practice may be unthinkable in many other countries, especially in big cities (due to security reasons), for as long as I can remember, we have always welcomed people into our homes to sample a variety of celebratory fare that are freshly prepared for guests everyday.
For me, breaking bread over our table like this can unite and strengthen community bonds and helps to maintain not only a common identity amongst one group of people, but also share it with those from other cultures and backgrounds. It's a time to catch up, eat up and chill out during the few days of public holidays. I'm very much a child at heart and I think I'm probably the one who has the most fun of all when it's time to celebrate! At least the young ones in my family won't be afraid of being grown ups themselves someday because they know it's okay to belly-laugh, play with fireworks, dance-the-jiggy and generally have a blast even when they're as old as well, me ;-).
Anyway this year, our open house saw plenty of fun happenings and held plenty of interesting conversations (oh, if only you knew). People visited us, and we returned the courtesy by visiting them back. Either way, there was a lot of eating and merrying to be had. I'd like to share with you some of the fun through my eyes - or rather, through my point-and-shoot.
I think I deserve a medal for having these four friends sit still for all of 1/4th of a second in order to have these pictures taken. Oh yes, they were still alright, just not all at the same time!
Next up, the food:
Condiments to noodles, and spicy fried eggs with soft yolks (heavenly!)
Roasted chicken kebab, durian mousse cake ;-), grapes and strawberries
The fun and relaxing times:
Top to bottom: Practising my levitation trick (in between visits), the kiddies on a wet slide-bouncer, forming imperfect heart shapes with fire-sparklers, enjoying the tranquility of the rock pool, a floating lotus.
All the while, the Persian was watching warily from the staircase...
It's been a tiring week, but I don't think we'll ever tire from opening up our houses and sharing our fare for as long as it is feasible. The pictures say it all. This is the best way to celebrate not only our festivities, but to also to celebrate our commonalities and yes, life.