28 July 2014

Idul Fitri

Like most Westerners, I don't know much about Islam. Unlike many, I don't think what I see on the nightly news or read in the paper qualifies me to claim that I know a lot. From the media I gain a very biased view, regardless of which brand of Islam we're talking about. Unlike a lot of my cultural compatriots, I have lived side-by-side with Moslem families, I have attended school with Moslem students, I have shared in their celebrations, including Idul Fitri.

Idul Fitri is the Indonesian (and possibly the Malay) spelling of the name of the feast that ends Ramadan. Ramadan is the Moslem holy month of fasting. Like Christmas in the Christian tradition, Idul Fitri is celebrated with a mix common themes and unique traditions throughout the world.

In Indonesia, where I experienced Idul Fitri, one of the common traditions is for individuals to greet each other with the phrase "mohon maaf lahir dan batin", which literally means "Please forgive (me) outwardly and internally". I was told it was a request for forgiveness for the intentional and unintentional hurts of the past year.

One of the things I appreciate about Ambon, where I lived, is that it is not only the Moslems who offer this phrase on Idul Fitri. Others who are not Moslem will offer Idul Fitri greetings to their Moslem friends, including this request for forgiveness.

I know some may roll their eyes and say, "Oh, it's just phrase. It doesn't mean anything." blah-blah-blah. Maybe, maybe not. The individuals I know offer it with a sincere heart that genuinely seeks to let go of the past and move forward.Wouldn't it be nice if just once in a while we could all put aside our religious and philosophical differences, ask for forgiveness of real and perceived hurts, and move on?


Annie Lahy said...

Hi Sue. Did you ever finish the Hebel garden sculpture? I am teaching sculpture to a group of year 10 students and we are using Hebel blocks. As yet we haven't started on the Hebel, but have practised with soap. Some good results so far. I found your blog this morning and thought it might be good to show it to the students so they can see the process from go to wo.

SueBK said...

Annie, thanks for asking. I hope your students really enjoy the hebel experience. I loved that it was so easy to carve. I am planning to try something else one day. In the meantime, here's an update of the owl: