Jordan, Palestine, Cross-border
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Khamsiniyeh: End of Winter Solstice

January 31, 2015 marked the end of the Winter Marb3aniyeh or Marb3aniyet Al-Sheta’, which means the winter solstice and it has nothing to do with centipedes! Maybe you’ve heard this term the past month on the news, or you’ve heard it from your grand-folks. It gets its name from the fact that this solstice lasts for 40 long, cold and wet days. So what comes next?

Well, after the Marb3aniyeh comes the ‘Khamsiniyeh’, which lasts 50 days. These 50 days are split into four parts, called the ‘Su3oodat’ and each individual ‘sa3ad’ lasts 12.5 days! And lucky for us, each of these sections comes with a proverb! So let’s take a look at what this season has in store for us.

  1. Sa3ad Al-Thabeh/Sa3ad the Slaughterer (سعد ذابح ما بخلي كلب نابح): Are you wondering who Sa’ad is? Legend has it that Sa’ad was a young man who left on his camel for a trip across the desert. Sa’ad did not take his father’s advice concerning grabbing a fur coat and some wood for fire due to a high chance of cold and wet weather. Halfway across the desert, the sky opened up, temperatures dropped and Sa’ad was forced to slaughter his camel and take cover inside it’s warm belly.
  2. Sa3ad Bala3/Sa3ad Swallowed (بسعد بلع بتنزل النقطة وبتنبلع): During the 12.5 days of Sa’ad Bala3, the ground is in a state where it soaks up every drop of rain!
  3. Sa3ad Al-S3ood/Sa3ad the Happy (بسعد السعود بدب الميه بالعود وبيدفى كل مبرود): In this period, water begins to flow in the veins of the plants and trees and plants begin to spring with buds and flowers. There is also a rise in temperature, and according to this proverb, those who were cold will become warmer! This happens around February 26th and ends March 10 afternoon. 
  4. Sa3ad Al-Khabaya/ Sa3ad the Hidden (بتطلع الحيايا وبتتفتل الصبايا): This is the time when the hidden snakes and other reptiles come out of their holes as well as the girls and women who go to the hills to pick whatever vegetation they find.

The Su3oodat wrap up on March 22 and this also marks the end of the 50 days. Were you counting? But wait, we’re not done yet! Stay tuned for what comes after the Khamsaniyeh and don’t forget to leave a smile!

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Israa Elkhatib

I was born in Palestine but raised with the fireflies in Georgia. My teenage years were spent being the Muslim nerd who was known as the bookworm of the school. That followed me back to Palestine, to develop into being the girl with the big vocabulary. I spent most of my high-school days cursing Newton for not eating that apple. My English Literature Bachelor's degree was only obtained because I'm a nerd for literature and my minor in Translation pretty much pays the bills, thank you Birzeit University.Creative writing is my passion and reading is my escape from reality into a world where everything is the way you imagine it to be.

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