Hooray for short weeks of school, and costumes, and parties, and dressing up. Seriously, I basically live for any excuse to wear a costume. And this week, I got one. Kuwait celebrated National Day on February 25th (independence from Britain in 1961), and Liberation Day on February 26th (liberation from Iraq in 1991). It’s more complicated than that, but there’s Kuwait’s history in one sentence.
Anyway, every year, 2 days are spent celebrating Kuwait and their independence. It’s like Canada Day or the 4th of July–a big deal. Remembering where they came from, and appreciating what they have as a country now. They celebrate with fireworks–I got to see fireworks over the Arabian Gulf from my balcony. They parade in the streets, and apparently they shoot each other with water and foam guns. People are up all night celebrating (which, I was up all night to, but not because I was out shooting people with water guns 🙂 ). People wear anything with the Kuwait flag on it and just generally have a good time. It’s a really big deal.
We spent about a week and a half learning about Kuwait at school. Actually, the kids taught me more than I taught them these past 2 weeks. They know a lot more about their country than I do. I can find it on a map for them, but they can tell me what it’s like to be Kuwaiti. What their culture is like and what their values are. It was actually really interesting. We learned together. They’d tell me what the words were, and I’d try to write them (hoping I spelled some of those Arabic-sounding words correctly). On Tuesday (the day before National day), we had a school-wide party day. Which was pretty legit. Everyone dressed up. Which, when I was told “Dress in traditional clothing”, I assumed that meant, “Wear traditional Kuwaiti clothing”. I.e., you’ll wear an abaya (black Muslim woman dress), which was fine–I have one. No. Traditional clothing means “dress like you’re a flag”. Some of these kids got really creative. It was adorable.
I had a cape skirt thing that had the flag in tassles on it. I felt very evil queen-ish in it. Basically spent the day with this huge power complex, which (I have one anyway) was a lot of fun. I painted some flags on my face, and we had a great time.
Parents sent in food, some of it Kuwaiti, some of it really not (like the Dunkin Donuts). My poor children ate so much food, most of it pure sugar. They were exhausted by the end of the day. But they were quiet, so I wasn’t complaining. We went to a ceremony in the gym with all the classes, but because of technical difficulties, as well as the inability of 5-year-olds to sit quietly for over an hour, we left before the end of the program. We then went back to the class and spent most of the day eating, watching a movie, and coloring some pictures of arabic culture.
I had the kids color pictures of what they would look like in traditional arabic dress. Women wear a Hijaab (the head veil), an abaya (the black robe), possibly a niqab (the piece covering the face), and also possibly a chador (a robe meant to disguise the curve of the neck and shoulders). The picture below shows a hijaab and an abaya.
Men wear a dishdasha (the robe–white in summer and grey or brown in winter) and a ghutra, smagh or shora (the head piece–white or red checkered usually). The ghutra is held on by a egal (the black piece of tubing like thing around it), and underneath it they will wear a hat (looks like a skull cap thing to me) called a Kufi (looks crocheted, but I’m not sure).
Here we are all ready for the parade and the National Day celebration!
Some of my fellow KG2 teachers.
I love these kids. They’re adorable. Sometimes they drive me insane. But they’re still awesome. And I still claim them as “my kids” (most days) 🙂