Yesterday was a day off in Ghana to celebrate the Muslim holiday Sallah.
A group of expats went to the Saturday morning event to see what Sallah was about. One girl is dating a Ghanaian Muslim, so her and her boyfriend guided us through the crowd. The night before, they had instructed us to wear long skirts, sleeves, and scarves that covered our heads. We did our best, but most women get new clothes made for Sallah so we were a bit plain next to the beautiful clothes surrounding us.
The Sallah event was held in a large park in town. Our little group of expat women sat on benches and watched the crowd from the edges. It was weird, though, because our bench faced the sea of people, which were all men.
“Are you sure we’re in the right spot?” one girl asked.
“It’s fine,” answered the girlfriend who had gone to Sallah before. “We’re just not allowed to sit in the front row.”
“But the woman are all in the back….”
We stayed where we were, although I think we all felt a bit conspicuous.
The event didn’t last too long – less than half an hour. Everyone prayed in unison, uttering phrases, kneeling, and standing back up a few times. Except for some children who were doing their own thing. Whenever the huge crowd knelt down, there were always a few kids still standing and looking around or pushing each other.
Some things don’t ever change, no matter the culture!