This weekend is a busy one, Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer in the U.S., is typically full of family picnics, and outdoor play. But, it’s not the only holiday that we’ll be celebrating this year.
Like most people, growing up I loved having a Monday off and spending time with my family. But Memorial Day is also a time we stop and pay tribute to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
While serving in the Navy myself, I was stationed in Bahrain and Afghanistan. Both countries are predominantly Muslim. In Bahrain, my flat was near a mosque, and I became used to the calls to prayer five times a day. It became a familiar sound, then and even now. I admired the devotion and commitment made by those who answered each call with personal prayer. But to me, the truest testament to their faith was fasting during Ramadan. In the evenings, after the sunset, the streets would fill with people coming out to enjoy seasonal treats and share meals with their families and friends. Ramadan began at sunset on Friday night, and I find myself thinking, too, of those celebrations.
And now we find ourselves in China and will be celebrating Dragon Boat Festival. We are planning to watch the Dragon boats race, eat zongzi, and may even hang palm. This was the first Chinese holiday we experienced when we first arrived a year ago in China. Unfortunately, we were in the middle of apartment hunting and were too busy to experience it. This year we are taking the time to stop and appreciate the celebrations happening around us.
As we head into this weekend we wish you Ramadan Mubarak, Happy Memorial Day, and Happy Dragon Boat!