Sunday, January 9, 2011

A New Year to Remember

In December 2010, my husband and 3 weeks in Gambia, a tiny country in West Africa, where we celebrated the beginning of the Islamic new year with good friends.

Similar to western tradition, the Islamic new year is a time for family and friends to gather. But almost everything else about it was very different. For instance, on New Year's Eve, instead of going out to celebrate at a restaurant or club, our friends prepared special sweet little millet cakes for the whole family, and also invited over 20 children from the neighborhood to share in the feast. New Year's Day morning was a time for everyone in the town to dress in traditional clothing and gather at the Mosque for contemplation and prayer. Then the rest of the day was spent taking walks to visit with dozens of friends and neighbors in their homes, and to receive them as guests in return.

On this day, besides being a part of this lovely way to celebrate with our friends, my husband and I were invited to visit the maternity ward of the local clinic, and I was privileged to meet its newest arrival, a sweet baby girl.

All in all, it was a very special New Year that we will always remember. Here's to a wonderful 2011 for all of us!

Member of the Washington Chapter of Association of Professional Landscape Designers

and the Environmental Education Association of Washington (EEAW)