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The Magic of Christmas in Qamishli

Finally, the school-leaving bell rings. It is time to get out of school, go for a walk in the central area, and then walk around the city. These are special days. These are Christmas days in Qamishli. Many visitors come to Qameshli city to see the Christmas decorations. I am a Qamishli resident.

Qamishli, Syria

My friend, Rita, and I can’t wait year to year to witness the merry Christmas. The amazing thing is that I am a Muslim, but the joy of my family and me on Christmas Day and all the joyful rituals of the day can surpass the joy of our Christian neighbours.

We get into the central Neighborhood, which is known for its Christian majority, with enthusiasm and start stopping at each house, contemplating the facades of the houses decorated with cheerful Christmas decorations. One of the most beautiful types of decorations that have caught our attention for a long time is the small caves at houses’ doors. The locals used to make small caves to represent Christ’s birthplace. The caves were well-deserved works of art. We would compare the caves and agree on the most beautiful cave in the neighbourhood while talking at length about all the details of the decorations.

Before going back home, we do not forget to make time to pass through Turkish Market Street where we witness another carnival of Christmas foods. Heaps of dried fruits and nuts from Turkey are almost everywhere as if the sky had rained something delicious. We always waited for these days. Rita and I saved some money from our daily allowance for a day like this. I am happy that I have the money to buy dried figs and a kind of soup called Harira filled with sausage and delicious fresh pistachios.

We leave the market to go home to see the Christmas trees all around us on the balconies and in front of the houses are decorated with lights and some candles and pictures of Jesus Christ. I am sorry that most of the trees are uprooted from the plantation near the neighbourhood, but I hope that they will be replaced with new bushes.

I arrive at my house to find that my mother has taken our Christmas tree from the shed to decorate it like every year. Rita and I start talking about decorations and comparing them. I never cease to show off the decorations of our tree, our house and the lights.

Honestly, my home’s decorations were always more beautiful than Rita’s house. But, unfortunately, what distinguishes Christmas in Rita’s house is the presence of Santa Claus with gifts every year. However, he does not come to my house. One day, I shared my feelings with Rita. I told her how much I thought of Santa Claus and how much I dreamed that he would come to my house and bring me a gift. Rita sympathised with me so much and promised me that she would try to take me to the church to attend some activities and meet Santa Claus. I was so happy to hear that.

They are charming rituals, considered the most exciting days of the year. Especially after Christmas is over, we will start preparing for New Year’s Day. New Year’s Eve is going to be a crazy night as always. I am so excited.

Animar Alsalem


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