What are Arab Americans Gearing Up to Do this Summer?
Written By: Randa Necola/ Arab America Contributing Writer
The idea of summer vacation is a sacred thing for Arabs and Arab Americans. Because summer is typically off for students in schools and colleges, they are conditioned to have their summer plans to enjoy vacation and time off. In that case, parents take advantage of their children’s availability and seriously plan for summer. Arab parents, like many other parents, think of various activities and they celebrate the season to the fullest before the expected time of back to school life again.
Here are what Arab Americans are likely to do this summer!
They Visit their Homeland
Arab Americans get very nostalgic while being away from their home and they dream of going back to where they were born and raised. The parents feel obliged to grow the love of their countries in their children. They want their kids to have the Arab identity and to get along with their immediate family and relatives. Many of them; especially the moms, travel to their home countries the entire summer season and stay with family, or their second home that they established there. While there, they sightsee other neighboring towns and countries or travel around their home country. They enjoy tourist spots and of course the local cuisine.
It’s the Time to get Married, Attend Weddings and Graduations
Summer is usually the season of marriage for Arabs and Arab Americans. It is so because of the availability of family and friends. Arab Americans attend many weddings across America, the Arab countries and even other countries of the world where family, friends, and the friends of friends reside. Also, at the beginning of summer is the graduation season. Arab Americans do enjoy attending their own children graduations and any one’s children’s graduations in the extended family. They do want to express their value of education, show their pride of the graduates, celebrate with them, cheer them, and inspire them to lead a bright and successful future.
They Host Family and Friends from the Arab World and Everywhere.
Because summertime is a time when Arabs are off, they invite family and friends to stay with them during the summer vacation. Arab Americans, for no occasion, visit their family in states and reciprocate by hosting them or hosting their children for the most of the summer. They plan to go to picnics, beaches, shopping, and exploring the surrounding areas.
They Plant Healthy Herbs and Flowers
Arab Americans love herbs; they don’t only plant them because of the health benefit but also to practice a tradition they enjoyed back home. Many of them plant a variety of herbs such as: mint, basil, parsley, thyme, sage, rosemary, and others. They use them in their salads, their tees and for blending them with their food. If they don’t have a garden for the herbs, Arab Americans plant them in their balconies and porches. It is a typical scene to see those herbs get dried on towels for their use in the winter. The smell of fresh herbs is like an addiction.
Arab Americans also pride themselves in planting variety of flowers and vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, squash, eggplant, and more.
They Air their Home and Many Bedding Items.
It is a must for Arab Americans to air their houses during the summer and to let the sun rays touch and brighten every single corner of the house. It is convenient and ritual to open doors and windows to welcome more and fresh air. They don’t stop there; they actually place their bedding items outside in the sun to kill any germs.
They Enjoy Eating Summer Fruits
Arabs Americans wait all year for fresh summer fruits. So, many fruits are associated with the summer season and vacation such as mango, melons, guavas, peaches, watermelons…etc. They eat it as a snack, dessert, and offer to their guests freshly squeezed cold fruit juices or chunks of refreshing fruit throughout the summer.
They Plan Picnics and Reunions with Family, Friends or the Whole Village!
Arab Americans are obsessed with picnics and being out to enjoy a nice sunny day. Sometimes, they plan big picnics and reunions with their extended family members and friends. It seems that friendships, sun, air, and food come altogether under the sun, or even the stars! Such an act is a revival for their life and a reminder of their love to the Motherland.
They Pick Figs, Pomegranate and Grape Leaves
Depending on the geographic area in the U.S., Arab Americans love picking fresh fruit such as figs, pomegranates, and lemons. They usually walk the neighborhoods looking for grape vines to pick their leaves to cook them stuffed with meat and rice or preserve them for the winter. Don’t be surprised to find Arab American older ladies staring at your fruit trees or helping themselves for a taste of them.
They Play Tawla, Order Hookah and go to the Ahwee (Cafe/Coffee Shop)
Arab American love relaxing at coffee shops or restaurants with friends and family to enjoy that magical time there. The community Ahwee/Cafe Coffe Shop is a holy ritual for Arab men because they enjoy playing Tawla and smoking Hookah. Also, they enjoy special drinks like the Arab Ahwee/coffee, Turkish coffee, mint tea, Sahlab, or Yansoon (anise). Also, men like to watch soccer matches at the coffee shop with their friends.
They Grill Mashwi–Barbeque Shish Kabob Meat or Chicken
The summer season is the grilling season for Arab Americans. Grilling chicken or meat is heaven time for them. Because Arab Americans love to cook and love to invite people to their homes, they take advantage of the warm weather to enjoy mashawi like kabob, kafta, chicken, vegetables, and other different dishes. They also like to indulge in the maza side dishes such as tabbouleh, tahini, hummus or baba ghanouj.
They Attend Festivals Celebrating Arab Culture
Arab Americans enjoy attending summer festivals (Mahraganat) in the United States to take advantage of the season and celebrate their heritage. Many churches, mosques, and organizations feature festivals as a summer activity where one will find the best food, music, and dance. They enjoy this activity because they want to be sure that their children are afforded the opportunity to learn the culture and feel pride in their rich heritage.