Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Grand Mosque

A little cultural update is in store with this blog post. Recently, we went on an MWR (Morale, Welfare, Recreation) trip. They load 25 of us on a bus, and take us somewhere usually fun or interesting. When I first got here to Kuwait, we were not allowed to ever go into a Mosque, walk near one, or stare at it. Well.....they changed the rules and took us on a trip to the Kuwaiti Grand Mosque. It's the 5th largest Mosque in the world, and will hold about 14,000 at one time inside, and 45,000 - 50,000 on the entire grounds (inside/outside). It was truly beautiful and the pictures don't do it justice. The Grand Mosque took almost six years to build and was fortunatly spared during the Iraq Invasion in August 1990. There is a little bit of damage (cracks in major spots) that suffered from all the bombing around the Mosque during the invasion, but the building is in fine beautiful shape. The intricate detail in the marble and wood carvings are unlike I've ever seen.

When we went into the Mosque, all the females had to put on an abaya. It is the black overgarment, including covering of the head, that all the women wear when they are out in public, much like we put on a coat. In their own homes, they wear brightly colored beautiful clothes to impress their family members (mainly their husbands), but outside -- they are supposed to draw attention to no one -- therefore, the black overgarment. In the picture (above), that's me, complete with the white tennis shoes sticking out!!!

After our visit to the Grand Mosque, we went to the City Centre Mall. It was relatively a small mall, but with fun little shops to go into. Most of the women were in the black abaya, however I think they forgot about the part that they're not supposed to draw much attention to themselves. I noticed the black overgarments were very beautiful -- beads, jewels, fringes, and much adornment on their beautiful abayas. My opinion -- the culture is changing -- while hanging on to the old customs. It reminded me of how some schools in the U. S. will put kids in school uniforms -- the kids will merely find another way to make a fashion statement -- hair do-dads, jewelry, shoes, etc.

That's all for today! Hope you enjoyed the Kuwait culture lesson!

Til later ~~ Candy

P. S. Go Spurs Go!! On to Round 2, and to beat the Mavericks!!!!!