Cause for Celebration

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!

5 responses to “Cause for Celebration

  1. Oh, Andrea . . . I began reading yor happiness creating story about the fireworks and got to the gunfire and wondered what on earth I was going to say . . . well, beautiful lady, you said it all before! . . . I am happy for those who had good results and hopefully will go on to happiness creating, useful careers, but I cringe that people have guns in their homes . . .

    • It really is a undesired aspect of the culture of celebrating here in Jordan. Unfortunately there were loss of life and an estimated 25 people hospitalised with injuries in Jordan after these celebrations. I really don’t understand it at all.

  2. I too, enjoy the fireworks at Tawjihi time, at weddings, etc, but the gunfire disturbs me. Last report I read in the papers, five people were injured by stray bullets falling from the sky. None were serious, al-hamdulillah, but the potential for real disaster exists each time a firearm is discharged. One of the cultural differences I’m still having a great deal of trouble adjusting to.

    • I just don’t understand the mentality behind it Jim. There’s just no connection by those partaking in this practice with the real and deadly consequences. I asked one time at at a wedding whether they were using blanks and was told that it’s not manly to use blanks. I replied so it’s manly to kill someone and then moved inside out of the way of any potential stray bullets.

  3. Pingback: Proud, Passionate and Patriotic | Middle East Moments·

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