The annual (lunar year) of muslim festival’s is upon us. So this weekend I spent out of the garden and voluteered to drive my neighbour Hussain
around, as he is the local Imam, he is busy saying a few prayers and singing (voice like pavarotti) as each of the local mosques(djamir’s) has its
‘mulitsa’. Not quite sure what is being celebrated but as no-one but Hussain knows any Arabic I am probably not the only one.
I suppose they are somewhat the same as ‘pancake day’ is the christian calendar, lots of eating for just before the month of fasting. So I am quite lucky I
get to do all the feasting and being proudly atheist no fasting required. Today’s mulitsa was in the local village of Mladovo, which as well as being from the
Mulsim minority in Bulgaria, is also a minority in a minority in that most of the village are from Roma decent. The BNP would have loved it.
The festival starts about 9 in the morning, where a few of the men cook the traditional beef and rice, enough to feed the whole village and any passing guests, then
for those who wish, a ceremony in the mosque goes on, whilst the majority sit around, telling dirty jokes, or in my case explaining the price of everything in the UK. The UKFO
can sleep well tonight I have put off an entire village from wanting to emigrate to the UK when I told them 20 cigarettes will cost them 8 euros! I was the brunt of many
jokes, one of the comedians of the village strung me on with a story that he had just had his 15th child, and pointed out his (new) wife who was 30 years his junior!
Hikmet the Dad of 15!
It turned out that he has two daughters, did not find any truth about the age of his new wife though! One of the young lads brought out an English phrase book, so inretrun I got
Hikmet to read out the English for Knife, Fork & spoon, which had the students in the village who study English in fits of laughter at his pronouciation of ‘fork’. The whole village was very welcoming, and I was treated as
a guest, and included me in all that was going on. Hussain was coming to the end of his ‘set’, so sent for me to sit with him during the feast, some poor other old fellow
was shunted down the pecking order, so the Imam’s driver could sit at the ‘top table’. Hussain thought it was quite funny, I have never met an 87 year old with such a mischeavous
behaviour. After the feast I filled the car up with as many as I could and we headed back, two of my new passesngers live in Fotinovo, which would mean about a 2km detour which was no
problem for me, but Hussain was having none of it, and kicked them out at our turn off, telling them there would be a bus along in a minute (The rural Sunday service must be improving). As
we drove on he said they were just chancing their arm, and the walk back would do them good as they are still young (Only in their late 70’s).
I have made a few new friends and have also put a name to a few more faces that I had seen before, the day has yet to finish as Hussain has told me to meet him in the
pub this evening (like all good Imam’s should). I hope no food is involved as I am full to bursting! I’m off to the pub!