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The Lion and the Lamb
Today started the Muslim Holiday of Ramadan, a time when Muslims are asked to fast during the day which entails not to drink any fluids, not eat, nor smoke; but not just that; to also abstain from speaking bad of others, use curse words, etc. though recommended not to do via the Suna, the book of laws, at all times, to assure the total cleansing of body and mind, it’s especially recommended during the month of Ramadan.
Due to the Islamic Calendar being a Lunar Calendar, Ramadan does not fall on the same dates annually, nor in the same season, as do certain Christian holidays like Christmas. The month of Ramadan was in September in 2008 and has now started today, the 10th of July. It’s a very difficult month for Religious folks to observe, especially when Ramadan is in the hot summer months, as it is this year.
It’s pretty harsh, i believe, to ask of hard working people not to drink any fluids during the day, while living in hot climates with the sun mercilessly beating down, like the Arabian peninsula. 100 degrees fahrenheit is not a high but one of the lower temperatures during hot seasons, though it’s a dry climate( not humid). But even here in New York city, with an average of 90 degrees in the summer, plus the humidity, i can’t imagine a God, or a Prophet ( Mohammed) asking of his people not to drink fluids during the day.
It wasn’t always like that, though, and i don’t know when these laws of not drinking came into being. I remember when Ramadan was the Arabic term for Christmas, and much of the German Christmas traditions of today were adopted from the Ramadan traditions.
Originally Ramadan, however, referred to the period before Judgement day, when God is said to walk about earth, but incognito so no one could see him. At the end of said season the Lion will lie next to the Lamb; a metaphor meaning the Judge, Dan the Lion, will make suffer each who were not good, but not harm the Lamb (Ram), the ones who were good, proven to be righteous, thus the lion will lie next to the Lamb.
This Period, prior to judgement day, was thus called, RamaDan – Ram ( Lamb), Dan ( Lion).
Since no one really knew when exactly the “period” ( Era) of Ramadan would start – the period of the ninth moon, which is to say the last moon before beginning a new cycle ( a cycle = 1 to 9 ) the Suna, a book of laws, was suggested to be kept so to assure one would always be healthy, lead an exemplary life so not having to worry if ever one was tested by God walking the earth incognito during the era ( period) of Ramadan.
Note: A single Moon cycle takes ” 32 ” years. A full cycle is said to take 9 Moons, thus 9 Moon cycles, which equates to 288 years. But only during the last Moon, the 9th, God is said to walk the earth incognito, prior to Judgement day, which is said to occur at the end of the 9th Moon. Perhaps it is no coincidence the amount of steps of the Capitol are ” 32 “,or that Beethoven wrote exactly “32” Sonatas, etc. 😉
Though the old stories are still told from generation to generation and the traditions kept to this very day – with the blood of the lamb suggested to be on the front doors of the houses, a metaphor meaning the “essence” ( blood) of the Lamb ( innocence, goodliness ) of the HOUSE ( the tribe, family, nation, as in House of Judah, House of Windsor, House of a tribe/nation/family – not to be confused with house as in buildings) seen on the door posts. Door post is a metaphor for the fundamental of “values” of a family/nation, because in Arabic culture one first built an arch, the door entrance, then the rest of the house.
But meanings of holidays and cultural traditions change over time.
I was very blessed to’ve had an international upbringing, attending schools of different countries abroad, as well. When about 5/6 years old i remember we lived in Germany and celebrated Ramadan – at least it was called Ramadan and it so happened to have fallen on Christmas at the time. It may be important to note that Germany has a tremendous Arabic influence since Germans ( Ethnic Germans, i.e.Nationals, as opposed to German “citizens” who’re of different Nationalities/Ethnic backgrounds) are of the same root as Ethnic Italians, who are of the same root as Ethnic Arabs.
The word German derives from the latin word, ” Germanus”, which means ” Brother”, as opposed to the gobbledygook one reads nowadays in history books, stating Germans were a sort of Barbarian tribe existent way before the Romans, through in a way it’s accurate, i suppose, since they did grow and wear ” Beards” = Barba/Berber 😉
Thus Arabic tradition, architecture, education, upbringing, holidays, diet ( foods), Hygiene, created what is nowadays typical German traditions, specifically in the Ruhr and Rhine regions, as well as lower Saxony.
To remind one another of the holy period of the 9th moon, Ramadan, a special month was set aside with everyone in the family given beautiful paper plates, with star filled blue night skies and a crescent new-moon painted on them. The paper plates were then filled with nuts – almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts – dried dates, dried figs, as well as mandarins, oranges, and most importantly marzipan (almond paste).
The children were given paper calendars with little doors for each day, they could open at night when having been a good kid, ‘cuz inside the doors was a sweet treat.
A tree was decorated with beautiful ornaments according to one’s craft, so to create the most beautiful tree ( family tree) and lit up with candles to please God. Bakers would create delightful ornaments of sweets and baked goods to hang them on the tree. Tailors would craft beautiful bows in different colors. Glass blowers would craft colorful glass balls, while carpenters would decorate their trees with wooden ornaments and farmers would decorate the tree with apples, nuts, etc.
On top the tree one would place a star, representing a blessing the family wished to receive for their tree – the ” tree” representing a family tree.
To this day Germans still prepare beautiful colorful paper plates filled with nuts, dates, figs and marzipan for Christmas, as well as decorating a tree, as is done in many countries all over the world, though it’s nowadays a Christmas tradition, it continues to be Ramadan to me, the way i remember it from my very early childhood, reminding me of a time when the world seemed so much closer to God, as though we all truly believed he will one day come to earth with us hoping to welcome him with such love by trying to please him not by fasting, not by praying 5 times a day, but by trying to create the most beautiful tree for him, should ever he come to our houses.
I remember sitting on the red leather Camel stool ( Kamel hocker)……. see photo
….a wooden piece of furniture with a leather pillow on top, used to put on top a camel to sit on for riding – i was about 5/6 years old – looking at the Christmas tree, so beautiful, which my father created only to please God.
That was the way of my fathers and my father.
He was so God loving, i will always cherish that i was blessed to’ve had him as a father.
And may God, Gott, Allah, Dios, Deus, Theos, Shiva, Adonai, or however you wish to call him, find delight in your tree.