Sunday, 25 December 2016
Christmas, Hanukkah - and Tabaski
Much has been made of the coincidence of the Christian and Jewish holidays today. In the name of interfaith peace and goodwill, I also wanted to go back to 25 December 2007, when we happened to be staying with our enterprising friend Sophie in her (then) new mud hotel in Djenné, Mali, and Tabaski, African Muslims' version of Eid al-Adha, shared the same day as our Christmas. Thus the photo of Djenné's men in their finest boubous praying outside the adobe wonder of the Great Mosque, which I take the liberty of repeating from one of my earliest blog entries back in January 2008.
It's a reminder, too, to get on with my reading of the Quran, which so far - two-thirds of the way through Book One - has revealed nothing but tolerance and welcoming of other religions on the grounds that we all share the same God. Plus some liberal ideas on divorce.
Owing to a postponed operation - one of the many in the current NHS crisis - Sophie is still with us in London, and later we'll be heading over the parks via other chums in Bayswater to share the big lunch with her and former attendees of her Tuesday soirées at another mutual friend's.
Salaam, and here's a medieval Virgin and Child from the east window of Merton College Chapel, taken after an Oxford Lieder Festival concert which we attended with Sophie's godmother Juliette (she's actually younger, a bit), her partner Rory and her mother.