Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gunshots and Fireworks. A'adi

In America, we see fireworks on the fourth of July. And that's about it.

In Jordan, however, they are pretty much a daily occurrence and are usually accompanied by gunshots, honking of car horns and much cheering. They do this for weddings, engagement announcements, exam scores, graduations, job promotions, dinners, you name it. You get used to it. Really fast. Or you develop a nervous complex and twitch a lot.

Newbies here, however, might not take such celebrations in stride. Here is an email Heather forwarded to me from the American Embassy, warning us of just such festivities.

"On Saturday February 6th, the Jordanian Ministry of Education intends to release the interim results of the high school exam (the Tawjihi). Families throughout Amman often celebrate when the test results are announced, and for some the celebrations are exuberant. Groups of young adults may drive around in cars blowing horns, and some individuals may shoot into the air. The direct threat is minimal, but traffic may be congested. Please do not be surprised if you hear shooting."

The Tawjihi mentioned here is a high school exam that determines what fields you can enter in college. For example, you have to make a certain score to be able to study medicine or engineering or something like that. (I wonder what you would have to make to study journalism?)

Regardless, the Saturday in question was unremarkable in its shootings and/or fireworks. Or perhaps I'm just so used to these sorts of things to even notice at this point. But thanks very much for your concern, American Embassy.

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