We are pleased to share a guest post from Esraa Mohamed. Esraa is an Egyptian Muslim, studying Physical Therapy at Cairo University. Esraa describes herself as “just another soul being passionate about the universe”. Today she is sharing with us her insights about rituals; family rituals, how rituals become “remember whens” and how rituals change over time.
Too many scenes floated into my mind the instant the word “rituals” crossed my sight. I was brought up in a family of four. I was constantly daydreaming back then for a bigger family, a family of six or something. But the bitterness of the small family didn’t weigh much, as our cozy rituals compensated that issue. Friday mornings were on top of all. We, the four, squeezing in the kitchen going back and fro preparing breakfast together. With that homely ambiance, we sat on a small woody table enjoying breakfast together, talking about everything in life. My father, mother and little brother are all I have for a family and those Friday mornings were all that we got.
Winter time. The air is filled with chilling, but warm breeze. 10 pm and I prepared my bag for school. Heading toward my daddy’s bed, I squeeze under the warm sheath, finding my way to his hug. “Hey daddy” I used to say and then I would end up telling him how angry I was about that friend who passed away last week without giving me a chance to say goodbye, and how much I liked physics and hated sociology. We used to make fun of my mum, making jokes about her just to drive her crazy. Daddy used to listen and then, kissing him on the cheek, I wished him sweet dream and headed to my bed.
It shook me to the core to realize that many of these rituals had become only “Remember whens”. I don’t know when we precisely ended up having nothing to say on Friday mornings or when we ceased practicing the other rituals? I always thought that I missed those days but I do not. I feel quite shocked to hear myself say that, but the moment I said it, I knew it was true. I used to love those rituals but now they are gone.
As I grew older, I began to understand rituals differently. Rituals are those deeds you would go on doing when everyone else has given up on them. They could be those murmuring hums before you sleep. Those solo hangouts when you are down. The rituals we come up with are what help us endure pain, so I try to come up with as many of those types of rituals as possible.