Here in Jordan they really know how to celebrate in style and any reason is an excuse to celebrate. Yesterday the graduating high school students received their final results. The students sit their final exams which are called Tawjihi in Jordan in order to obtain their Tawjihi certificate. It is the results of their Tawjihi certificate that determine their eligibility for university.
Last night from about 8:30 to the wee hours of the morning the students and their families were celebrating. So what does a typical Jordanian celebration look (or should I say sound) like. Fireworks, gun fire, music and horns blaring as cars are driven around and around the town.
From the houses of the graduating students fireworks are set off. This means that from the view from our balcony I can see fireworks displays all over town. The fireworks displays are not only a way of celebrating but also letting the community know your status. There are definitely different kinds of fireworks with most houses letting off 2 or 3 lots of the standard ones which whilst pretty are limited in colour and patterns. Then there are the houses where they have gone all out on their fireworks displays. They let off fireworks all night having spent a couple of thousand dinars to show off to the community that they can afford it and the fireworks are certainly more detailed.
These are just a selection of the photos of the fireworks I was treated to last night. I wish there was some way that I could share the noise of the night as well.
Corresponding to the fireworks display is the amount and type of gun fire that comes from the houses. Gun fire is very much a part of any Jordanian celebration with the volleys of continuous fire from semi automatics to the single stuccato notes from pistols. Like fireworks bullets are not cheap and again the amount of gun fire that comes from your celebration is another way of showing your standing in the community.
We had Atef’s Mum and Dad at our house last night for dinner and Atef’s Dad kept commenting on how much money some of the people would have spent – too much money. I find the practice disturbing on a number of levels. I’ve only ever heard gun fire as a celebratory response, but my thoughts go out to the large refugee populations in Jordan (Palestinian, Iraqi and Syrian) for whom the sound of gun fire is related to anything but celebration. The other thing that I find disturbing is that not all people use blank ammo. Each year there are a number of cases of death and injury caused from bullets at celebrations, turning what should be a joyous occasion into a time of mourning.
But I do enjoy the fireworks!